Houston, Nov 20: With both adoptive parents of Indian toddler Sherin Mathews now booked into a Dallas jail, police say they are waiting for the autopsy report and details from laboratories to determine the cause of her tragic death.
Wesley Mathews and his wife Sini Ann Mathews have been arrested by police in the Texan city of Richardson weeks apart in connection with the mysterious death of 3-year-old Sherin, who was adopted by the Indian-American couple last year. Sherin was found dead in a culvert nearly 1km from her home in suburban Dallas, weeks after Wesley informed the police that the toddler was missing.
Wesley initially said he sent Sherin outside to an alley near their house about 3 am as punishment because she refused to drink her milk. Wesley, 37, was arrested on October 26, hours after a cadaver dog found Sherin's body in the culvert. He has been charged with injury to a child, a felony charge. He is now in the Dallas County Jail with a USD 1 million bond.
The crime is punishable with up to 99 years in prison. Sini, 35, the foster mother of Sherin, was arrested on November 17 after the police alleged that the couple, hailing from Kerala, left Sherin in the kitchen alone and went out for dinner with their 3-year-old biological daughter October 6, the night before the toddler was reported missing by Wesley.
Sini, has been arrested and charged with with abandoning or endangering a child, a state jail felony in Texas. Sergeant Kevin Perlich with Richardson Police says the arrest of Sini came after investigators went through a lot of evidence and determined that the time was right to go forward and arrest her for endangering a child. He said police have sent a lot of "stuff" to laboratories for analysis and some of them have returned. But they were still waiting for details from other equipments seized from the home and vehicles of the Wesley and Sini Mathews.
Perlich, the Internal Affairs & Public Information Officer of Richardson Police Department said, "We are still waiting for the additional evidence to come to us. "When that additional evidence comes into us, it may lead us in another direction, it may result in additional charges, may result in amended charges. We will wait and see how it unfolds and make those adjustments," he said last week after Sini was arrested. Police have said the investigation into the death of Sherin is continuing.
"As far as exact time and cause of the (Sherin's) death is concerned, we are still waiting to get from the Medical Examiner's office as well as trying to piece that together as when she may have actually passed away," Perlich said. Last week, police said they have not determined whether Sherin was alive when the couple returned home an hour and a half later after having dinner at a restaurant. An arrest affidavit said the toddler was in the kitchen where the couple had left her.
"The Medical Examiner's Office is probably waiting for additional tests on the body that they have to do, once we have that, it will tell us something as well," he said. "Hopefully, there is always a possibility that they can't make a determination, but if there is something that comes in back, may lead the investigation in another direction, may be something else we have to take a look at we haven't been able to look at because we haven't been aware of it," he said.
Wesley had initially said he sent Sherin outside their house about 3 am because she refused to drink her milk. After Sherin's body was found, he 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 made public by police.
Sini appeared before a family court judge on November 13 to attempt to regain custody of her biological daughter, who had been moved into foster care by Child Protection Services after Sherin's death. The toddler is expected to be moved out of foster care to live with an extended family member in Houston.