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US judge returns foster mother's passport days after child abandonment charge dropped

Press Trust of India  |  Houston 

The Indian-American foster mother of Sherin Mathews has got her passport back, nearly a week after charges were dropped against her in connection with the tragic death of her 3-year-old daughter, whose body was discovered in a culvert in suburban Dallas in 2017.

Sini Mathews was charged with child endangerment after she left her adoptive daughter Sherin alone at home while she and her husband Wesley Mathews went out for dinner with their 4-four-year old biological daughter on the night before the toddler was reported missing from their house in Richardson, Texas.

Sini had been jailed on a child abandonment charge, but the charge was dismissed after the district attorney said there was not enough evidence to move forward and released her from the Dallas County Jail.

On Thursday, a Dallas judge ordered authorities to return Sini's passport, WBAP, an AM News/Talk radio station in Dallas reported.

Defence attorney Heath Harris said the judge had little choice but to return the passport which was taken when Sini was arrested. He said Sini had no plans to go anywhere, but can do so if she chooses so.

"I am blessed," Sini, a nurse, said after the charges against her were dropped and told the media that she was looking forward to meeting her biological daughter.

"I want to thank the DA's office for dismissing the case and I am looking forward to being reunited with my daughter," Sini said.

She had lost parental rights to her biological daughter who has been adopted by her relatives in Houston. Lawyers are now reviewing options to possibly return her to her mother, Sini, the WBAP report said.

Sini's husband Wesley is still in Dallas County Jail for capital murder linked to Sherin's death. He will face trial in May this year and is presently being held on a USD 1.1 million bond.

Sini and Wesley, who hail from Kerala, adopted Sherin from an orphanage in Bihar in July 2016. After Sherin disappeared, Wesley had first claimed that he had punished her by making her stand outside their home at 3 am for not drinking her milk.

After Sherin's body was found in a culvert a kilometre from their home in October, 2017, Wesley then changed his version to he had tried to feed her the milk and that she choked on it.

Wesley was indicted for capital murder by a grand jury and for tampering with evidence. Wesley, if convicted, could face the death penalty or an automatic sentence of life without parole.

An autopsy report in January 2018 showed that Sherin died of homicidal violence. Sherin's case had attracted international attention and the Indian government had revoked the Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) immigration status of Wesley and Sini.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, March 10 2019. 16:50 IST
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