Following a custodial court hearing Tuesday, Wesley Mathews' attorney spoke at a news conference, telling the press the Mathews had no photos of their adopted daughter, Sherin, displayed in their Richardson, Texas, home because she was "disfigured." This statement was prompted by testimony that photos of the couple's biological daughter were prominent in the family residence but there were no images of Sherin. The hearing was held to determine the custody of the Mathewses' biological child who is now living with relatives.
Attorney Rafael De La Garza addressed the photo issue, saying the Mathewses loved their daughters equally despite not displaying any photos of Sherin in the home. According to the Dallas Morning News, he also said the following about Sherin.
"This child was very disfigured... You're not going to post an unflattering picture of the child for everybody to see."De La Garza's comments attempted to address the testimony of an investigator with Child Protective Services, Kelly Mitchell. She testified at the court hearing that when she visited the Mathewses' home, she saw multiple photos of Sherin's sister – the biological daughter of Wesley and Sini Mathews – but not one of Sherin, according to the Dallas Morning News.
Mitchell also told the court she had the feeling the Mathewses had two different relationships when it came to Sherin and their biological daughter.
Wesley and Sini Mathews, both jailed in connection with Sherin's case, were denied access to their biological daughter, according to the ruling of District Judge Cheryl Lee Shannon on Tuesday.Over the course of the two-day hearing, experts testified about Sherin's physical well-being and the actions of her adoptive parents.
Dr. Suzanne Dakil testified that she was worried Sherin had been injured by her parents and reported her concerns to CPS. She revealed through her testimony that in September 2016, Sherin was treated for a broken elbow; in January 2017, the toddler was determined to be underweight; and in February 2017, Sherin had a skin infection and injuries to bones in her upper arm, according to the Dallas Morning News.Additionally, a set of X-rays of Sherin showed she had a number of leg fractures that were at different stages of healing, according to Dr. Dakil's testimony.
A detective also testified at the custodial hearing, saying that Wesley held Sherin after she died and then placed her body in the back of his vehicle with a bag of trash, according to the Dallas Morning News.
He also testified that when Sini woke up on the morning Sherin presumably went missing, she found Wesley in the kitchen. She joined her husband and the two sat at the kitchen table for about three hours crying and praying. The couple then called a non-emergency number regarding Sherin, according to a WFAA Dallas report.
Another hearing is set to take place to determine if the court will strip the Mathewses' parental rights to their biological daughter, 4, who was removed from the family's home by CPS not long after the investigation into Sherin's disappearance commenced.
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 $1,000,000 bond.
Sini is also behind bars after being charged with child endangerment. She is being held on a $100,000 bond. She 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.
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.
The Dallas County medical examiner has yet to release Sherin's official 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 Mathewses 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.