Cadaver-sniffing dogs joined the search for missing Texas toddler Sherin Mathews on Tuesday, but rumors spreading online that the three-year-old’s body was found had so far been denied, according to media reports late Tuesday afternoon. Police in Richardson, Texas — where the little girl lived with parents Wesley and Sini Mathews who adopted her from India 16 months ago — issued a statement on Tuesday warning that fake news spread on the numerous Facebook sites that have appeared, focusing on the search for Sherin, could be harming the search effort.
“The quality of information you get off of Facebook is just that,” Richardson Police Sergeant Kevin Perlich said, according to a KDAF TV News report on Tuesday. “Something you’re getting from someone who may not even be familiar with the investigation, or they may not even be from this particular area.”
Police directed those following the search for the missing girl to the Richardson Police Department Facebook page at this link. The police are now asking the public for information about a 2013 maroon Acura MDX SUV, a vehicle belonging to the Mathews couple, which was “absent from their residence between the hours of 4 a.m. to 5 a.m.,” on October 7, the day that Wesley Mathews reported his adopted daughter missing.
Three cadaver dogs now in field near Richland College, helping police search. Canines are with Mark9 Search & Rescue. pic.twitter.com/REZvhrLIMb
— Allison Harris (@AllisonFox4News) October 17, 2017
According to a local freelance journalist, Omar Sidiqqi, who has been covering the search effort, rumors spread online Tuesday saying that Sherin Mathews’ body had been discovered by searchers, but those rumors as of late Tuesday afternoon remain untrue. Watch a full video report on the case by Sidiqqi at this link.
But also on Tuesday, police reported finding “articles of interest” in the search for the little girl, who is reported to have cognitive disabilities. But whether those “articles” turn out to be useful as evidence in the case has not yet been determined.
The little girl’s father told police that Sherin disappeared after he placed her outdoors about 100 feet from their home, near a tree, forcing her to stand outside alone as discipline for her refusal to drink a glass of milk. But Wesley Mathews told police that when he went outdoors to retrieve his daughter, she had disappeared without a trace.
Mathews later suggested to police that the toddler, who weighed only about 22 pounds at the time of her disappearance 10 days ago, may have been taken by coyotes. The animals are known to roam the area near where the Mathews family resides. But police have dismissed the dad’s suggestion, saying that they have found no evidence that a coyote snatched the girl.
“Coyotes don’t generally pose a threat to people,” Perlich said. “It’s hard to imagine that a child could just disappear with a coyote.”
According to an update posted at 7:40 p.m. Central Daylight Time, Richardson police now say that they have “developed information that has lead us to more specific areas” in the search for Sherin Mathews. “We conducted multiple searches in those areas of interest today. Fields, creeks and wooded areas were some of the searched locations.”
— Meredith Yeomans (@YeomansNBC5) October 17, 2017
One of those fields searched by police in Tuesday was located near Richland College, approximately two miles from the Mathews home, according to a report by The Dallas Morning News.
Wesley Mathews, 37, said that he placed Sherin outdoors at about 3 a.m. that morning. But he admitted that he waited about five more hours before he reported to police that the girl was missing — a delay that investigators have described as “concerning to us.”
[Featured Image by Richardson, Texas, Police Department Facebook]