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She had no eating problems: Orphanage owner on Texas girl Sherin Mathews

The orphanage owner refuted the parents' claim that she suffered from problems

AP | PTI  |  Dallas 

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. Photo: AP/PTI

The owner of a now-closed in India where a young girl was living before a couple adopted her last year says the child had no difficulty eating despite her adoptive father's account to police when reporting her missing.

The body of 3-year-old was found on Sunday in suburban Dallas in a culvert under a road about a half-mile from her parents' home. Police and volunteers had been searching for the girl since Oct 7.

Investigators have said that her father, Wesley Mathews, initially told them he had sent the girl outside at 3 am on Oct 7 to stand near a tree across the alley from the family's fence because she refused to drink her milk. He said he went to check on her after about 15 minutes.

Mathews told police the girl had been malnourished when she was adopted and needed to eat whenever she was awake to help her gain weight. But owner Babitha Kumari told television station WFAA the girl had no problems and that Wesley and Sini Mathews appeared loving when they were going through the adoption process.

"The child had no problem at all when she was here, neither in drinking milk or eating," Kumari said.

A phone call to the adoption agency believed to have helped the couple adopt Sherin was not returned on Wednesday.

Wesley Mathews was initially charged with endangering or abandoning a child after reporting the girl missing on Oct 7. He changed his story to police Monday, saying the girl choked on milk and died in the family's garage before he took her body away.

ALSO READ: Missing Indian-American toddler choked on milk and died: 10 key developments

He was arrested and charged with felony injury to a child, which carries a sentence of up to life in prison. Mathews was transferred to the Dallas County jail yesterday, which is routine for inmates charged with higher-level felonies. The Dallas County Sheriff's Department said he has been placed on suicide watch.

A judge reviewed his bond and left it at $1 million. Mitch Nolte, an attorney for Sini Mathews, said in a written statement yesterday that she has submitted to several long interviews with police since Oct 7, and because she had nothing to do with the "death or removal" of the child's body, her lawyers see no need for her to "endure further police interrogation.

First Published: Thu, October 26 2017. 09:07 IST