Father of missing Richardson girl now claims she died choking on milk
RICHARDSON, Texas - The father of a missing 3-year-old Richardson girl who was later found dead changed his story about what happened to her.
Wesley Mathews was taken into custody on Monday night for injury to a child, a first-degree felony. His bond was set at $1 million.
Mathews was previously charged with child endangerment. He told police his adopted daughter, Sherin, disappeared after he left her by a tree around 3 a.m. on Oct. 7 because she wouldn’t drink her milk.
"What he told us as far as putting her out there and stuff like that? That's not something that happened," said Richardson Police Sgt. Kevin Perlich.
The little girl's body was found Sunday in a culvert about a half a mile from the family’s home. Richardson police said dental records confirmed it was her.
According to an arrest warrant affidavit, Mathews showed up at the Richardson Police Department with his lawyer Monday afternoon and asked to speak to detectives.
"He provided an alternate statement of events from those which he had given previously, regarding the disappearance of Sherin," police said in a statement.
Mathews told detectives Sherin choked and died while he was trying to get her to drink her milk in the garage.
“Wesley Mathews said she wouldn’t listen to him. Eventually, the 3-year-old girl began to drink her milk. Wesley Mathews then physically assisted the 3-year-old girl in drinking the milk,” the affidavit states.
It goes on to say Sherin began to choke and her breathing slowed. Mathews told detectives she had no pulse and he believed she was dead.
He admitted to removing her body from the home, the affidavit states.
Richardson police said the charges against Mathews could be upgraded or modified depending on what is revealed in the medical examiner’s report. Charges could also be filed against another person, police said.
In the more than two weeks since Sherin disappeared, hundreds of people have gathered at the tree where her father first said he left her. The place became a shrine built by strangers.
There are still many questions about what happened to the little girl adopted from an Indian orphanage.
Mathews’ wife, Sini Mathews, originally told police she was asleep when her daughter disappeared. Police say she provided the dental records that identified Sherin's body but has refused to talk to police about her adopted daughter's death.
Sini had two attorneys by her side in court on Monday. Greg Gibbs is representing her civil fight to regain custody of her biological 4-year-old daughter. Up until recently, criminal defense attorney Kent Starr was also representing her. She has not been arrested or been charged with any crimes at this point.
Police say an additional arrest could be made. Friends say Sini was a nurse, but there's no indication Wesley wanted her to help. Police are still inquiring whether Sini was asleep when Sherin died, as Wesley claims. They're still asking for Sini to come forward and tell them what she knows.
"She has an opportunity to come in and talk to us right now," Perlich said. "But whether she comes in or not, we are going to move forward with the investigation. It's either with or without her cooperation."
FOX 4 reached out to Wesley's attorney for comment, but he as not replied.
The autopsy report from the medical examiner has yet to be released. Police say charges could be change upon that development.