Judge Bars Parents of Dead Richardson Toddler From Seeing Their Other Daughter

Wesley and Sherin Mathews
Wesley and Sherin Mathews Richardson Police Department
A Dallas County judge ruled Tuesday afternoon that the parents of a Richardson toddler found dead in October will not be allowed to see their other daughter even if they successfully post bail. Judge Cheryl Lee Shannon found that "aggravated circumstances" surrounding the death of 3-year-old Sherin Mathews necessitated that Wesley and Sini Mathews be kept away from their other child, who is staying with relatives near Houston. There will be a trial to permanently terminate the Mathewses' parental rights.

Wesley Mathews is charged with first-degree injury to a child for his actions the night his daughter died. Sini Mathews is charged with child abandonment for allegedly going out to eat with her husband and other daughter while Sherin Mathews was left home alone Oct. 6. According to a statement made by Wesley Mathews, Sherin Mathews choked and died at 3 a.m. the next morning as he tried to get her to drink milk in the family's garage.

Tuesday marked the second day of testimony in the Mathewses' CPS hearing, which adjourned last week after testimony from Dr. Susan Dakil, a child-abuse specialist at Children's Medical Center. She said Sherin Mathews suffered multiple fractures in her arms and legs consistent with abuse by her parents.

Dakil took the stand again Tuesday and told the court she referred her patient to a clinic for children at risk for abuse in February because the girl's weight was dropping, according to reporters at the hearing. The Mathewses' other daughter, Dakil said, didn't show any problems or signs of weight loss.

Kelly Mitchell, a CPS investigator, said Tuesday that the couple's other daughter didn't cry when she came to take the girl from her parents' home Oct. 9, two days after Sherin Mathews went missing. Mitchell said that when she was in the couple's home, she noticed that there where multiple pictures of one daughter hung around the home but none of Sherin Mathews, who was adopted from India in 2016. Her sister is her parents' biological child. Sini and Wesley Mathews didn't mention Sherin's name during the time Mitchell spent at the house, the investigator said.
click to enlarge Sini Mathews - RICHARDSON PD
Sini Mathews
Richardson PD
After Mitchell's testimony, Richardson police Detective Jules Farmer gave the clearest picture yet of the events before and after Sherin Mathews' death. Farmer said Wesley Mathews told him that he got up in the middle of the night and asked his daughter, who slept in a crib in her parents bedroom, if she was awake. She said that she was, so her father asked her is she wanted to finish her milk, which she hadn't finished earlier that night, according to the detective.

Wesley Mathews then took his daughter to the garage to finish her milk, he told the detective. According to an arrest warrant affidavit, Sherin Mathews' father said the girl began to choke as she was drinking. Her breathing slowed, and Mathews "believed she was dead," he told the detective.

After Sherin Mathews died, Farmer said Tuesday, Wesley Mathews put her in the back of his car with a "couple of bags of trash" and dumped her in a nearby culvert. Wesley Mathews intended to return to get the body later, he told Farmer.

Sini Mathews told Farmer that she woke up at 5 a.m. and saw a "weird look" on her husband's face after Wesley Mathews got rid of the body. The couple then went to the kitchen table and prayed for three hours before Wesley Mathews called the city of Richardson's nonemergency line to report his daughter missing at about 8 a.m. Oct. 7.
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Stephen Young has written about Dallas news for the Observer since 2014. He's a Dallas native and a graduate of the University of North Texas.
Contact: Stephen Young