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Father of missing Indian-American toddler now says she choked on milk

He said he "physically assisted" Sherin in drinking her milk when she wouldn't listen to him

Press Trust of India  |  Houston 

Photo provided by the Richardson Texas Police Department shows 3-year-old Sherin Mathews. Police in a Dallas suburb say they've found the body of a small child. Photo: AP/PTI
Photo provided by the Richardson Texas Police Department shows 3-year-old Sherin Mathews. Police in a Dallas suburb say they've found the body of a small child. Photo: AP/PTI

The foster father of a 3-year-old Indian girl, who is missing for over two weeks, has told police that his daughter choked on milk and he "believed she had died", according to a media report today.

Wesley Mathews, 37, the father of Sherin Mathews, was re-arrested and charged with first-degree felony injury to a child due to a conflicting statement to police.


The arrest came a day after the body of a small child was found in a culvert near their home in suburban Dallas and police fear that it could be that of Sherin.

An arrest warrant obtained by local TV Station WFAA detailed the "conflicting story" that led to the re-arrest of Sherin's father.

The warrant states that Mathews told police that his daughter choked on milk in the early morning hours of October 7 and he "believed she had died."

He said he "physically assisted" Sherin in drinking her milk when she wouldn't listen to him, according to the warrant.

"She was coughing and her breathing slowed," the warrant reads. "Eventually, no longer felt a pulse on the child and believed she had died."

He then admitted to police that he removed the body from the home, the warrant reads.

Mathews had previously claimed that Sherin went missing after he sent her outside their home at around 3 am on October 7 as punishment for not drinking her milk.

He was arrested then and charged with felony endangerment to a child and was placed on electronic ankle monitoring. He also surrendered his passport as a condition of making bond on October 9.

He was re-arrested for felony injury to a child after providing investigators at the Richardson Police Department with the conflicting story.

"When they came in, they provided us with some information that was contrary to what we had previously been told regarding her [Sherin Mathews] disappearance," said Kevin Perlich, Richardson Police Department spokesperson.

His bond has been set at USD 1 million and he was booked into the Richardson City Jail.

"It is possible that he could bond out again," Perlich said.

When asked yesterday about the milk story Mathews originally told police, Perlich wouldn't provide specifics because it was an ongoing investigation. All he could say was that "it was not what he told us originally."

Perlich said police still did not have a positive identification on the child's body that was found Sunday at 11 am in a culvert underground during a search operation in the area of Spring Valley and Bowser Road.

The FBI seized dozens of items from the family's home and their vehicles between October 8 and 12, including a washer and dryer, electronics and DNA swabs.

First Published: Tue, October 24 2017. 23:33 IST
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