Social media users broke the news that 3-year-old Sherin Mathews' body had been found Sunday in a field not far from the Mathews' home in Richardson. She has been missing for more than two weeks.
Police found the body of a small girl believed to be Sherin in a culvert near Spring Valley and Bowser roads, not far from the Mathews' home.
Wesley Mathews told police he put his adoptive daughter in time-out at 3 a.m. Oct. 7 next to a large tree in an alley about 100 feet away from their home because she refused to drink her milk. She hasn't been seen since.
Police, with the assistance of state and federal law enforcement agencies, scoured the area for signs of the missing girl, hoping to find her safe.
"The indications are it is most likely her," said Kevin Perlich, a spokesperson for Richardson police. "But we can't say for sure until we have a positive identification."
It's unclear at this point how she died. Police said the body was found at 11 a.m.
Wesley Mathews was charged with child endangerment after he told police that he spent about 15 minutes searching for his daughter but figured he'd wait until daylight and do some laundry in the meantime. Five hours later, he called police and reported his daughter missing. He's now free on bail.
Sherin's mother, Sini Mathews, told police that she had been sleeping when her daughter disappeared, according to her attorney, who told reporters, "All she wants is for her daughter to be returned."
Although her attorney said otherwise, Richardson police claimed the couple was not cooperating with law enforcement.
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Nearly a week ago, law enforcement officials searched the family's home. They seized 47 items, including the washer and dryer, a pink blanket, a T-shirt and trash bags. They also picked up floor mats and a USB drive and swabbed the family's 2013 Acura MDX after they realized that the vehicle had left the home between 4 and 5 a.m. the morning of the girl's disappearance, despite the father's claim that he planned to wait until daylight to search for her. The sun rose at 7:30 a.m. that day.
The latest development in the case came to light when Facebook user Mercedes Peterson's live video appeared on the Where is Sherin Mathews Facebook page. "I am in a field where I believe they have found Sherin Mathews," Peterson said. "I'm going to show you here. They [police] have it all blocked off right here. But I think they might have found the body of Sherin Mathews."
Several social media users began spreading the unconfirmed rumor that Sherin's body had been found, prompting Richardson police to host a press conference at 2 p.m. Sunday. It was the first police press conference since Sherin went missing.
At the press conference, Perlich told reporters that police were waiting for the FBI recovery team to process the body. He said they had notified Sherin's parents, but no arrests have been made.