Dallas, Texas, USA: Wesley Mathews and Sini Mathews – the adoptive parents of Sherin Mathews, the toddler found dead in a culvert in Richardson last month – pleaded the 5th during testimony in a child Protective Services,CPS, hearing when they appeared in a Dallas courtroom on Wednesday afternoon to fight for custody of their biological daughter.
Sini Mathews, who has been ordered to house arrest on a charge of child abandonment, took the stand during the hearing but invoked her 5th Amendments rights during most of the questioning by state prosecutors.
The state asked her about allegations of broken bones Sherin suffered and about the night the three-year-old disappeared.
Prosecutors also asked Sini whether she told doctors that Sherin had a Vitamin D deficiency, which lead to her broken bones.
Sini did answer questions about her biological daughter and told prosecutors that she planned to attend supervised CPS visits if and when she makes bail.
Wesley Mathews, who is in jail on charges of injury to a child related to Sherin’s death, also took the stand but invoked his 5th Amendment right during questioning.
The judge allowed the couple to plead the fifth because they each have a criminal case pending.
The hearing is continued until next Tuesday, December 5th, at 9 a.m. There are two more witnesses scheduled to take the stand.
EARLIER : Sherin Mathews : Foster Mother, Sini Mathews Arrested On Felony Charge – Sini Mathews, the foster mother of Sherin Mathews, found dead last month in a culvert in Dallas, has been arrested – on a charge of abandoning or endangering a child, a state jail felony- after Richardson, Texas police alleged that the Indian-American couple left the 3-year-old home alone the night before she was reported missing.
Sini Mathews and husband Wesley Mathews, who was arrested last month, went out for dinner with their biological daughter October 6, leaving Sherin because she refused to drink her milk, Richardson, Texas police said.
The 35-year-old mother, an Indian-American registered nurse, was arrested yesterday after her attorney took her to the Richardson police station.
She is being held in the Richardson jail on a charge of abandoning or endangering a child, a state jail felony. Bail has been set at USD 250,000, police said.
A state jail felony in Texas is an offense that is punishable by confinement in a state jail facility from six months up to two years.
Police said they have not determined whether Sherin was alive when they returned home an hour and a half later, the Dallas Morning News reported.
An affidavit said the toddler was in the kitchen where they left her.
“The Dallas County Medical Examiner’s Office is continuing to work on determining the cause of death. Those results will be made available when complete,” Richardson Police said in a Facebook post.
Wesley, the 37-year-old foster father, who has since been charged in connection with Sherin’s death, remains in the Dallas County Jail on a charge of injury to a child. Bail has been set at USD 1 million. The crime is punishable by up to 99 years in prison.
Wesley had initially said he sent Sherin outside to an alley near their house about 3 am because she refused to drink her milk.
He later changed his story and to say he “physically assisted” Sherin with her milk, and admitted to removing her body from the home after she choked and stopped breathing, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.
Sherin was adopted by the Indian-American couple last year from Bihar, India
EARLIER: Missing #SherinMathews : Dad, Wesley Mathews, Arrested On Felony Charge – Richardosn, Texas police said in a press release today, that Wesley Mathews, father of three-year old Sherin Mathews, has been arrested and charged with Injury to a Child (Texas Penal Code, TPC, 22.04), a first degree felony punishable by life or from 5 to 99 years in prison.
‘Mr. Mathews voluntarily arrived at the Richardson Police Station with his attorney and asked to speak with detectives. He provided an alternate statement of events from those which he had given previously, regarding the disappearance of Sherin,’ the release said.
Wesley Mathews is currently in the Richardson City Jail and his bond has been set at $1,000,000.
’We are still awaiting a positive identification from the Dallas County Medical Examiners office for the child’s body found Sunday, believed to be Sherin Mathews,’ the release said.
His wife Sini Mathews is not charged at this time. ‘He provided an alternate series of events from what he had previously given us,’ police spokesperson said.
He could not elaborate on the statement, citing the ongoing investigation.
The body of the young child discovered Sunday has not yet been identifed, and autopsy results from the Dallas County medical examiner are pending. Police have previously said the body was “most likely” Sherin’s.
The body was found about 11 am in a culvert near East Spring Valley and South Bowser roads, with the help of search dogs.
Sherin has been missing since Oct. 7 when Wesley Mathews told police he sent the girl outside to an alley near their house in the 900 block of Sunningdale about 3 am because she refused to drink her milk. When he went to check on her about 15 minutes later she was gone, he told police.
He was initially arrested and charged with child endangerment after telling police he knew coyotes had been spotted near the alley, according to the arrest warrant affidavit.
When Sherin did not return, Mathews told police he went inside and did laundry while he waited for it to get lighter outside or for her to return on her own.
Wesley Mathews and Sini, attended a court hearing Monday to determine whether they could regain custody of their 4-year-old biological daughter who was placed in protective custody after her adopted 3-year-old sister went missing Oct. 7.
The judge postponed Monday’s custody hearing until Nov. 13 to allow their father, Wesley Mathews, to hire an attorney.
EARLIER: Sherin Mathews: Texas Police Find Body In Area That Toddler Went Missing – Richardson Police Department, at a press conference today, said they located a child’s body Sunday in the area where 3-year-old Sherin Mathews had been reported missing earlier this month. The body found Sunday was less than a mile from where the toddler’s family lives. Police say it’s too early to identify if the child’s body is Mathews. Police say it’s not clear how the child died.
An AMBER Alert was first issued for Mathews when she went missing on October 7 in Richardson, Texas. It was eventually canceled because of a lack of progress, but the investigation continued.
The young girl — who has developmental issues and limited verbal communication skills — was last seen by her father, Wesley Mathews, wearing a pink top and black pajama bottoms two weeks ago.
37-year-old Wesley Mathews told authorities he took his daughter outside at 3 a.m. Saturday to teach her a lesson for not drinking her milk.
Mathews told officers he asked his daughter to stand by a large tree behind a fence in the backyard, according police records. The tree is across an alley near the home, which backs railroad tracks.
When he went outside 15 minutes later to check on the toddler, she was gone.
Wesley Mathews alerted authorities of his daughter’s disappearance five hours later, according to police who called the delay “concerning.”
He also told police that coyotes have been spotted in the alley where he left his young daughter.
Wesley Mathews was arrested and charged Saturday with abandoning or endangering a child.
He was released from jail a day later on a $250,000 bond.
Police say the girl’s mother, Sini Mathews, was asleep during the incident and is not facing charges.
The couple’s 4-year-old daughter was removed from the home and placed in foster care, according to Marissa Gonzales, a spokeswoman with Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.
EARLIER: Texas Police Search For 3 Yr Old Girl Missing After Dad Made Her Stand Outside At Night As Punishment – Authorities were searching on Monday for a three-year-old suburban Dallas girl who went missing over the weekend when her father allegedly made her stand outside in the middle of the night as punishment for not drinking her milk.
Wesley Mathews, 37, ordered Sherin Mathews to stand next to a tree behind the fence at their Richardson home at around 3am on Saturday, according to an arrest affidavit. The tree is across an alley from the home.
Mathews went outside about 15 minutes later to check on her, but Sherin was gone. The child, who has a developmental disability, was wearing leggings, a pink long-sleeved shirt and pink flip-flops.
The father didn’t notify police that his daughter was missing until about five hours later, according to the affidavit.
Mathews was arrested on Saturday on a charge of abandoning or endangering a child. He posted bond late Sunday, according to police Sergeant Kevin Perlich. A working phone number for Mathews could not be found and it’s not clear if he’s hired an attorney to speak on his behalf.