Wesley Mathews, father of Sherin, arrested on felony charge after providing an alternate statement of events.
By Jose Plackatt
(This post has been updated)
Police have confirmed that the body recovered from a culvert in Richardson, TX, on Sunday was that of three-year-old Sherin Mathews, who was missing since October 7. The cause of death is still being determined, Richardson Police said around noon Central Time.
The identity was confirmed by the Dallas County Medical Examiners Office by using dental records.
Earlier on Monday, the father of the child, Wesley Mathews, was arrested and was charged with the first-degree felony, which is punishable by life or from 5 to 99 years in prison.
According to an official statement, Mathews, an Indian American, changed his previous statement about sending the girl out for not drinking milk and provided an alternate statement of events regarding the disappearance of the toddler.
“Mr. Mathews voluntarily arrived at the Richardson Police Station with his attorney and asked to speak with detectives,” the Richardson Police Department said in a Facebook post.
An affidavit filed before the magistrate at the Municipal Court in Richardson said:
Wesley Mathews [said] he had been trying to get the 3 year old girl to drink her milk in the garage. Wesley mathews said she wouldn’t listen to him. Eventually the 3 year old girl began to drink the mil. Wesley Mathews then physically assisted the 3 year old girl in drinking the mil. The 3 year old girl began to chok. She was coughing and her breathing slowed. Eventually, Wesley Mathews no longer felt a pulse on the child and believed she had died.
He was booked into the Richardson City Jail on a $1 million bond.
Earlier on Monday, the police department said they had “most likely” found the body of Sherin Mathews from a culvert near her home in Richardson. The body was found on Sunday, at approximately 11 a.m.
“We are still awaiting a positive identification from the Dallas County Medical Examiners office for the child’s body found yesterday, believed to be Sherin Mathews,” the latest statement read.
Sherin Mathews was reported missing on October 7 and the complaint filed by her father said he found the girl missing 15 minutes after he sent the child out of home at 3 am as a punishment for not drinking milk.
The parents, who adopted the girl from an orphanage in Bihar, reported the incident to police only five hours later and Wesley Mathews was arrested and charged with Abandoning or Endangering Child. He was then released on bail bond of $250,000.
The girl had limited verbal communication skills, according to her parents.
The couple also has a 4-year-old biological daughter who was placed in foster care soon after Sherin reported missing. According to the NBC 5 report, Wesley Mathews and his wife, Sini Mathews, attended a court hearing on Monday for the custody of their child.