A doctor was concerned about several broken bones sustained by Sherin Mathews, 3, more than six months before the Richardson, Texas girl was found dead. At a custody hearing on Wednesday, the physician testified she suspected abuse and contacted Child Protective Services about the child’s injuries.
The three-hour long court hearing was held to determine whether Sherin’s adoptive parents, Wesley and Sini Mathews, would be reunited with their biological daughter. The girl was removed from the family’s home by CPS shortly after Sherin was reported missing.
Dr. Suzanne Dakil of the Referral and Evaluation of At Risk Children Clinic, or REACH, said during her testimony that she was worried Sherin had been injured by her parents. She said she tried “very hard to find another good explanation” but could not come up with one, according to The Dallas Morning News.
Dr. Dakil’s testimony revealed that in September 2016, Sherin was treated for a broken elbow, which her parents claimed happened after her sister pushed her off the couch, The Dallas Morning News reports.
In January 2017, another doctor referred Sherin to Dr. Dakil after determining the child was underweight.
Just a month later, in February, Sherin was admitted to the hospital with a skin infection that included a “possible muscle and joint infection,” according to The Dallas Morning News. Dr. Dakil testified that Sherin also had injuries to the bones in her upper arm.
According to the doctor, Sini, who is a registered nurse, said the injury likely occurred when she grabbed Sherin to stop her from slipping while at a playground. Dr. Dakil did not find Sini’s explanation consistent with the girl’s injuries.
The Dallas Morning News reports that a series of X-rays conducted on Sherin showed she had additional fractures of her legs that were at various stages of healing. Sini asserted that Sherin could have been injured during physical therapy and was probably “fragile because she was fed rice and coffee creamer in India,” Dr. Dakil testified.
— Tommy Noel (@TommyNoel) November 30, 2017
The doctor also stated she determined via X-rays that Sherin did not have brittle bones and her injuries were sustained after the girl left India.
Dr. Dakil noted that following a call to Sini, she called CPS to report her findings. She received a call back from Sini not long after informing her that she was “wrong.” Sini said she did not hurt Sherin, and indicated that meeting with CPS would “ruin her family’s weekend,” the doctor testified, according to The Dallas Morning News.
Months later, Sini and Wesley ceased taking Sherin to Dr. Dakil’s clinic for checkups. They said it was too far to drive and wanted to take the girl to their primary care physician.
Both of Sherin’s adoptive parents attended the court hearing in handcuffs Wednesday, as each has been jailed and charged with crimes related to Sherin’s case. Wesley and Sini refused to answer questions during the custody hearing by invoking their Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination, according to Fox News.
David Kleckner – the attorney for Wesley Mathews – holds up 5 fingers to Wesley signaling to plead the 5th for every question asked. (he's done this for every question) #SherinMathews Photo: @dwoo_woo pic.twitter.com/8PV6fJmrC7
— Tommy Noel (@TommyNoel) November 29, 2017
The Dallas Morning News reports that Wesley said, “I plead the Fifth” when asked to confirm his name, and gave the same answer when the prosecution queried, “Did you kill Sherin Mathews?”
— Alisha Ebrahimji (@AlishaEbrahimji) November 29, 2017
When Sini was asked if she thought it prudent to leave Sherin home alone, whether she remembered telling police her husband would do anything to protect her, and what sort of clothing Sherin was wearing the last time she saw her, Sini answered “I plead my Fifth” to each question, according to The Dallas Morning News.
Sherin Mathews' doctor called CPS this spring after finding the girl had several bone fractures https://t.co/GhnumjjyBB
— Dallas Morning News (@dallasnews) November 29, 2017
Sini is accused of leaving Sherin, 3, alone at home while she and her husband, Wesley, went out to dinner with their biological daughter. The outing reportedly took place on October 6, the night before Sherin was reported missing, according to The Dallas Morning News.
An arrest affidavit states that cell phone records obtained by police show that the couple and their biological daughter were at a restaurant at the time indicated. Their dining receipt also indicates the family ordered just one child’s meal, which was confirmed by their server.
During an October 23 interview with police, Wesley said the family left Sherin at home because she wouldn’t drink her milk and he became “impatient” with her, reports the Dallas Morning News. Wesley stated that Sini agreed to leave Sherin behind and was not “coerced” to do so. He said when they returned home about an hour later, Sherin was still in the kitchen.
Sherin’s lifeless body was found by a cadaver dog on Sunday, October 22, in a culvert not far from her family’s home. Wesley was arrested the next day and charged with Injury to a Child, a first-degree felony for which he could face 5 to 99 years behind bars if convicted. He is being held on $1,000,000 bond.
Sini has been charged with child endangerment and abandonment and is being held in jail on a $100,000 bond.
The Dallas County medical examiner has yet to release Sherin’s cause of death.
An arrest affidavit for Wesley indicates he told police that on October 7, he and Sherin were in the garage of the family home where he was trying to get her to drink milk, which she ultimately did. He said he then “physically assisted” her as she drank, subsequently observing that she was choking, coughing, and breathing slowly. Wesley stated that “eventually” he couldn’t feel a pulse on Sherin and believed the little girl was dead. He also admitted moving her body from the family home.
Sherin was adopted by Mathews and his wife in the summer of 2016 from India.
Anyone with information about the Sherin Mathews case can contact the Richardson Police Department at 972-744-4800.