What to Know
- Girl reported missing Oct. 7 after father said he placed her outside when she refused to drink her milk.
- In a statement to police Oct. 23, girl's father said she choked on her milk and died and that he removed her body from the home.
- Dallas County medical examiner confirmed through dental records that the child found Sunday was Sherin Mathews.
The body of a North Texas child found in a drainage culvert Sunday has been confirmed to be missing 3-year-old Sherin Mathews.
Richardson police released new details to NBC 5 and confirmed the finding late Tuesday morning, citing a report from the Dallas County Medical Examiner's Office saying the child had been positively identified using dental records.
The girl's adoptive father, Wesley Mathews, was arrested Monday night after changing his story, telling police he "physically assisted" his daughter in drinking milk and that she died after beginning to choke, according to an arrest affidavit. He then told police he removed her body from the family's Richardson home.
After being read his Miranda rights, detectives said Mathews told them had been trying to get his youngest daughter to drink milk in the garage but that she wouldn't listen to him.
"Eventually the 3-year-old girl began to drink the milk," the affidavit said. "Wesley Mathews then physically assisted the 3-year-old girl in drinking the milk. The 3-year-old girl began to choke. She was coughing and her breathing slowed. Eventually, Wesley Mathews no longer felt a pulse on the child and believed she had died."
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Mathews told police he then removed the girl's body from the home, though no further details were given about where he left his child, according to the affidavit.
Mathews, who was out on bond after being charged with negligence, was re-arrested and charged with felony injury to a child Monday night. His bond on the new charge was set at $1 million.
NBC DFW was reaching out to his attorney.
Sherin Mathews was reported missing Oct. 7. Wesley Mathews initially told police she went missing around 3 a.m. after being told to stand outside as punishment for not drinking milk and that she was gone when he checked on her 15 minutes later.
In his original story, Wesley Mathews told police he went to look for the girl but returned home and did some laundry while waiting for her to return. Just after 8 a.m., nearly five hours after she disappeared, Mathews called police to report his youngest daughter was missing.
After a night of heavy rainfall Sunday morning, the body of a small child was found in a drainage culvert not far from the Mathews' home. Richardson police said late Tuesday morning the Dallas County Medical Examiner's Office confirmed the child was Mathews using dental records.
Earlier Monday, Wesley Mathews and his wife Sini Mathews attended a court hearing to determine whether they could regain custody of their biological 4-year-old daughter, who had been placed in protective custody after her sister was reported missing.
The judge postponed the hearing until Nov. 13 to give Wesley Mathews time to hire a civil attorney, said Marissa Gonzales, a spokeswoman for Child Protective Services. The girl will remain in foster care at least until that hearing or until a judge orders a change in custody.