Sherin Mathews Update: Why Is Dad Wesley Mathews Charged With ‘Causing Injury To A Child’ Instead Of Murder?

Sherin Mathews, the 3-year-old Texas girl who disappeared two weeks ago and whose body was found earlier this week, died after her father “physically assisted her” in drinking her milk. So why has Wesley Mathews been charged with “injury to a child” and not murder?

As the Dallas Morning News reports, Sherin was reported missing on October 7. Her father initially claimed that he had made her stand outside, at 3 a.m., as punishment for not drinking her milk. He initially claimed that he went to check on her 15 minutes later and couldn’t find her; however, he later changed his story to say that she choked after he “physically assisted her” in drinking her milk.

He allegedly waited several hours to call the police.

Considering that he allegedly admitted to playing a role in her death, allegedly waited hours to call the police, and allegedly gave differing versions of the story to investigators, why is Mathews only charged with causing injury to a child and not a more serious charge, such as murder?

The reason appears to be the lack of criminal intent — that is, prosecutors would have to prove that Wesley Mathews intended to kill Sherin, as writer Jennifer Emily notes. A prosecutor would have to convince a jury that Wesley knowingly and intentionally caused the young girl’s death — and in this case, it appears that there simply isn’t enough evidence.

Instead, authorities believe, at this stage of the investigation, anyway, that a jury could be convinced that Wesley knowingly and intentionally injured Sherin in forcing her to drink her milk.

However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that murder charges are off the table. Already, prosecutors have changed the charges that Wesley is facing.

Initially, Mathews was charged with child endangerment; those charges have since been upgraded to causing injury to a child.

Richardson police Sgt. Kevin Perlich said Wednesday that, although there are no plans to change the charges against Wesley Mathews at this time, nothing is off the table.

“Since it’s an ongoing investigation that could always change.”

Regardless, the fact that he is facing charges other than murder doesn’t necessarily mean that Wesley is going to get off light: both murder and causing injury to a child carry a possible sentence of life in prison.

[Featured Image by Richardson Police Department]