A Dallas County grand jury has indicted Wesley Mathews in the capital murder of his 3-year-old daughter. The grand jury also charged Mathews, 37, with tampering with physical evidence for allegedly dumping Sherin Mathews' body in a culvert after killing her in the family's garage. Mathews is now charged with four felonies, including injury to a child and child abandonment.
Wesley Mathews and his wife, Sini Mathews, who is charged with child abandonment for allegedly leaving her daughter home alone while the rest of the family went out to a restaurant, reported their daughter missing in October, telling police that she'd disappeared after being forced to stand in the alley behind the Mathews' home in Richardson as punishment for not drinking her milk. After two weeks of looking, searchers found Sherin's body less than a mile from the house. Wesley Mathews admitted to police that he'd moved his daughter's body but said that she'd died after choking on milk in the family's garage.
According to testimony from doctors at a child custody hearing for the Mathewses' other daughter, Sherin showed significant signs of abuse during the year between her adoption by the Mathewses from India and her death.
Dr. Susan Dakil, a pediatrician certified in child-abuse pediatrics, testified that X-rays revealed multiple fractures in Sherin's arms and legs. Because of the way the injuries had healed, Dakil said, she was confident that the injuries happened after her adoption. The doctor also said she didn't believe Sini Mathews' assertion that Sherin broke her elbow when her older sister pushed her off the couch.
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When Dakil reported her findings to Sini Mathews, the mother said she disagreed with the findings and told the pediatrician that a report to Child Protective Services would "ruin her weekend," Dakil said.
After the hearing, a Dallas County family court judge banned the Mathewses from contact with their other daughter.
Last week, the Dallas County medical examiner ruled that Sherin Mathews died from homicidal violence, opening the door to her father's murder charge. Details about her death are being withheld pending the continuing criminal investigation.
If convicted on the capital murder charge, Wesley Mathews faces the death penalty or life in prison without parole.