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Now, father says 3-year-old Indian girl choked on milk, re-arrested

Wesley Mathews, who adopted Sherin Mathews from India, said she choked while drinking milk at 3 am and that he took her body outside after he believed she had died.

world Updated: Oct 25, 2017 11:44 IST
Yashwant Raj, Washington
Texas toddler,3-year-old Indian girl,Indian girl murdered in US
Wesley Mathews and his wife Sini reportedly adopted three-year-old Sherin two years ago from an orphanage in Bihar. (AP File Photo)

Wesley Mathews watched as his three-year-old daughter, Sherin Mathews, choked on the milk he “physically assisted” her to drink. She coughed, her breathing slowed, and she went still. There was no pulse.

This was the new “version” Mathews, from Kerala, told police in Texas after his 3-year-old adopted daughter was found dead. He initially claimed that he had left the child outside as punishment for not drinking milk.

This photo provided by the Richardson Police Department in Richardson, Texas, shows Wesley Mathews. (AP)

According to the new story, Mathews “removed the body” from his home and called the police hours later saying that the girl, who suffered from development issues, was missing.

Police found the body of the child a mile from the family’s home in Richardson, Texas on Sunday, ending a massive search using drones and canines.

A medical examiner identified that body as that of Sherin Mathews on Tuesday, using her dental records obtained from the family.

The cause of the death will be determined by the autopsy report, which is awaited.

It wasn’t immediately clear if investigators believed the new version of the events of the fateful day, October 7. Police had said investigation was on and there was a possibility of additional arrests and modification of charges.

He was arrested for the second time on Monday — the first time was on October 7, charged with endangering a child — with first-degree felony of causing injury to a child, a crime that could get him between 5 and 99 years in prison if convicted.

Wesley Mathews, who is from Kerala as is his wife Sini Mathews, gave new details of the day to investigators on Monday, which the police had refused to share but were available from the arrest warrant.

Mathews told a detective “he had been trying to get the 3-year-old girl to drink her milk in the garage”, according to the document But he added, “She wouldn’t listen … (but) eventually she began to drink the milk.”

Mathews then “physically assisted (her) … 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.”

Mathews then “admitted to removing the body from the house”.

The Mathews, who have an older biological child, had adopted Sherin from Nalanda, Bihar in 2016. She was undernourished and had developmental problems and grown up lacking communications skills for her age.

The family told the police that given those medical problems they followed a special diet regimen for her and fed her whenever she was awake.

According to the earlier version of the day Mathews had given the police, it was 3 am when he had sent Sherin out of the house for not finishing her milk — and had shown the police the tree where he had left her. When he returned 15 minutes later, she was missing.

Mathews then went back into the house, did the laundry and decided for daylight to go look for her.

But one of the family’s vehicles, an SUV, was believed to have left between 4 and 5 am and police had sought surveillance footage from neighbours to ascertain details.

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First Published: Oct 24, 2017 21:47 IST