Orphanage claims girl had no special needs.
External Affairs Minister of India Sushma Swaraj has sought an investigation into the procedures followed before adopting Sherin Mathews, a 3-year-old child who died under mysterious circumstances in Texas earlier this month.
The toddler’s body was found from a culvert less than a mile away from her home on Sunday and the autopsy result is pending.
Sherin was adopted by Indian American couple Wesley and Sini Mathew from an orphanage in Bihar, roughly three years ago.
As the Texas police still investigate what caused the death of Sherin, Swaraj’s tweet asking for an investigation into the adoption of the girl has renewed discussion of adoption rules in India.
Swaraj said she has requested the Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi to order an investigation into the adoption of baby Saraswati, who was later renamed Sherin by her adopted parents who took her to Texas.
“I have also asked Shri Anupam Ray @cgihou to ensure that the murder of Baby Saraswati @ Sherin Mathews is taken to a logical conclusion,” she said.
Wesley Mathews was arrested after the toddler’s body was found.
Mathews told the police that Sherin chocked on her milk and he watched her dying. During the initial days that followed the missing of the girl, Mathews had told the police that he found the girl missing after locking her out of the house for not drinking milk at 3 am.
Mathews, an immigrant from Kerala, also told police that he removed the child’s body from the house.
Mathews is facing charges of first-degree felony for causing injury to the child, not murder charges. Mathews’ wife, Sini, has denied any involvement.
Mathews was transferred to the Lew Sterrett Justice Center on Wednesday, where he is under the custody of the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department.
He is placed under suicide watch and his bond is set at $1 million. If found guilty, Mathews could faces up to 99 years of incarceration.
The Ministry of Child Development in India has set stringent adoption procedures following Sherin Mathews’ death.
“We have decided that passports to adopted children will be issued only with prior clearance by Ministry of Child Development in all cases,” the minister said.
According to the Richardson Police Department, Sherin Mathews had multiple special needs that her parents sought treatment. However, the orphanage in India from where the baby was adopted said that she had no special needs during the time of adoption.
“She was malnourished when she came over here. She had developmental issues. She was not your typical 2- or 3-year-old,” Richardson police Sgt. Kevin Perlich said on Friday to Dallas News.
The newspaper also reported that the orphanage from where Sherin was adopted is currently non-functional and the management blames it on missing paperwork.
“We loved her laughter,” said Babitha Kumari, who managed the orphanage. “She was a smart child. I will always want to know what happened to this child. What was the real reason she passed away? If we had known this would happen to her, we would never have sent her,” she told Dallas News.
A video of Sherin, from the day of her adoption, is currently circulating on social media.