The story of Sherin Mathews, the 3-year-old girl whose body was found in late October in a culvert under a road, captured the hearts of her Richardson, Texas community, as well as people around the world. On Saturday, a memorial service will be held for the toddler, followed by a bench dedication and dove release in her name.
The community memorial service will commence at 3 p.m. on December 30 at Restland Memorial Chapel located at 13005 Greenville Avenue in Dallas. Those from Richardson and surrounding communities are expected to attend to “pray” for Sherin “without regard to religion, language, race, culture or nationality,” according to the Restland website.
Following the memorial service, a bench dedication and dove release will take place at Restland Memorial Park. The bench is not located at Sherin’s gravesite, as it is meant to be a permanent location for individuals to reflect on life and “grieve” Sherin’s passing, according to WFAA Dallas. The entire memorial features a bench made of granite, displays Sherin’s name, and has an epitaph that reads, “A life that touches others goes on forever.”
The bench memorial was donated by Gene Champagne, according to WFAA Dallas. The news media outlet reports that ironically, in October 2017, around the same time Sherin’s story hit the news, Champagne won a granite bench in a raffle.
Champagne told WFAA Dallas he won the raffle “for a reason.” He added that the same night he saw Sherin’s story on the news and thought it would be nice to donate the bench to her.
Weeks ago, Sherin’s actual gravesite was revealed to the public. She is buried in a cemetery at the Turrentine-Jackson-Morrow Funeral Home in Allen. Her headstone reads, “Moment In Our Arms, Lifetime In Our Hearts.”
Sherin’s adoptive parents, Wesley and Sini Mathews, will not be attending Saturday’s events, as both are jailed in connection with Sherin’s case. Recently, a judge at a custody hearing denied them access to their biological daughter, who was removed from the family home by Child Protective Services shortly after the investigation into Sherin’s disappearance began. The ruling was due in part to testimony given by a physician who said she worried Sherin had been injured by her parents and reported her concerns to CPS.
— Alisha Ebrahimji (@AlishaEbrahimji) December 24, 2017
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 is charged with child endangerment and is being held on $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.
— Richardson TX Times (@RichardsonTimes) December 27, 2017
Wesley told police on October 23 that Sherin was left at home because she wouldn’t drink her milk and he became “impatient” with her, reports the Dallas Morning News. He said Sini agreed to leave Sherin behind and was not “coerced” into doing so. He told police when the family returned home about an hour later, Sherin was still in the kitchen.
An arrest affidavit for Wesley states 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.