On Saturday, people of varying faiths came together to remember little Sherin Mathews, who was found dead in a culvert not far from her Richardson, Texas family home. The gathering took place near the location where the toddler’s lifeless body was discovered in October.
Christ Community Church hosted the interfaith memorial service, which was attended by more than 50 people, according to CBS DFW. Most of those who came to honor Sherin never knew the child but felt close to her in one way or another.
The lead pastor of the church, Dr. Terrence Autry, told CBS DFW it “touched” him because Sherin’s death nearly took place “on the doorstep” of his church. He wanted to give those in the community a chance to “share and grieve” and possibly unite somewhat at the gathering.
Korina Aguilar, an attendee of the service told NBC 5 DFW that it touched her that “people from different backgrounds came together for this precious little girl.” She noted that she had lost two daughters, so although she did not know Sherin or her family, the girl’s death hit “close to home.”
On Wednesday, Sherin’s adoptive parents, Wesley and Sini Mathews, attended a custody hearing to determine where their biological daughter would live. The child was removed from the family home by Child Protective Services not long after the investigation into Sherin’s disappearance commenced.
At the hearing, Dr. Suzanne Dakil testified she was worried Sherin had been injured by her parents and reported her concerns to CPS.
The physician’s testimony revealed that in September 2016, Sherin was treated for a broken elbow; in January 2017, another doctor referred Sherin to Dakil after determining the child was underweight; and in February 2017, Sherin was admitted to the hospital with a skin infection, when it was found she also had injuries to bones in her upper arm, according to The Dallas Morning News. A set of subsequent X-rays conducted on Sherin also showed she had various fractures of her legs that were at different stages of healing, according to Dr. Dakil’s testimony.
The custody hearing is scheduled to continue this week.
Sini is currently behind bars after being charged with child endangerment.
She is accused of leaving Sherin, three, 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.
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 five to 99 years behind bars if convicted. He is being held on a $1,000,000 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 the Mathews 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.