Body found in culvert ‘most likely’ of missing 3-year-old Indian girl: US police
Sherin Mathews’ foster father reportedly sent her outside their Texas home alone at 3 am on October 7 as punishment for not drinking her milk.world Updated: Oct 23, 2017 17:05 IST
Authorities in Texas have found a body which officials say is “most likely” of a three-year-old Indian girl who went missing after she was left outside her home by her foster father at 3 am as punishment for not drinking milk.
Sherin Mathews of Richardson in the US state of Texas was reported missing on October 7. The girl, who has developmental issues and limited verbal communication skills, was last seen in the backyard of her home early the same by her adoptive father, Wesley Mathews, 37.
The body was found at 11 am on Sunday local time in a culvert beneath a road, Richardson police department spokesman Kevin Perlich told reporters.
A medical examiner had not made a positive identification but it is “most likely” the body of Sherin and her parents had been notified, Perlich said.
The cause of death is yet to be determined and an arrest has not been made in connection with the discovery of the body, he added.
Wesley and Sini Mathews reportedly adopted the girl from an Indian orphanage two years ago.
Sherin’s father, who is believed to be from Kerala, had told police he left his daughter outside the home at around 3 am on October 7 as punishment “because she wouldn’t drink her milk”, according to a probable cause document obtained by CNN.
He told her to stand by a tree about 100 feet from the home. Mathews later told police he knew coyotes had been seen in the alley where he told Sherin to stay, the affidavit said.
When Mathews went to retrieve the girl at 3.15 am, she was gone, the document added.
Police have said Mathews didn’t contact them for five hours after he realised the girl was missing. Mathews was arrested and charged with abandoning or endangering a child “as a result of his decision to place her outside a place of safety”, the Richardson police department said.
Mathews was free on bail after posting a bond of $250,000, police said.
He said he had looked for Sherin but then he went inside the home to do laundry and decided to wait until morning to continue searching or for her to return on her own.
The police department has also said that one of the Mathews family’s vehicles had left the home the morning Sherin went missing, between 4 am and 5 am.
Sherin’s case caught the attention of external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, who tweeted: “We are deeply concerned about the missing child. Indian Embassy in US is actively involved and they keep me informed.”
India’s consul general in Houston, Anupam Ray, said the case was being closely monitored” and officials were in “contact with the community and authorities”.