RICHARDSON (CBSDFW.COM) – Did now-confirmed dead Richardson toddler Sherin Mathews choke while drinking a glass of milk? There are more questions after an announcement from the medical examiner and new details from the arrest affidavit of Sherin’s adoptive father, Wesley Mathews.
Police arrested Mathews for a second time on Monday afternoon after he voluntarily went to the Richardson Police Department, with his lawyer, and asked to talk to investigators. It was then that Mathews changed his account of what happened in the early morning hours of October 7, the day he claimed Sherin went missing.
Originally, Mathews had told police that he was punishing Sherin for not drinking her milk and that at 3 a.m. he ordered her outside to stand by a tree about 100 feet outside their backyard. He said he left the little girl there and when he returned 15 minutes later discovered she was gone.
On Tuesday evening, community members got together to mourn the loss of the little girl.
The affidavit detailed how after being advised of his rights on Monday Mathews now said that the incident involving Sherin happened in the garage of the family home.
Mathews new claim is that he was trying to get the little girl to drink her milk, but that she wouldn’t listen to him. He said at some point when Sherin finally complied he “physically assisted the 3-year-old girl in drinking the milk.” It was then that Mathews said the toddler began to choke and that after coughing for a while her breathing slowed.
The 37-year old said that when he could no longer feel Sherin’s pulse he “believed she had died” and removed the body from the house.
Richardson police Sergeant Kevin Perlich said that basically Mathews new story is, “… contrary to what we were initially told when she was first reported missing.”
“What he has told us now is that she was drinking milk,” said Sgt. Perlich. “She really didn’t want to drink that milk and so he was physically assisting her with that milk, apparently to the point where she began to choke, lost consciousness and eventually expired. During that period of time, Mr. Mathews never sought medical attention.”
Wesley Mathews was arrested again and booked into the Richardson City Jail. He is expected to be transferred to the Dallas County Jail sometime today.
Just before lunchtime Tuesday, the Dallas County Medical Examiner confirmed that the body of the child found on Sunday, about a mile from the Mathews’ home, is Sherin. Officials said they used dental records to confirm the little girl’s identity, but still have not determined how she died.
Before his arrest Monday Mathews had been out on bond after being charged for Endangering a Child. He is now facing a charge of Injury to a Child, a first-degree felony with a maximum punishment of life in prison.
“The charge, whether it be a murder charge or an injury to a child, is a first degree felony on the charge. They both carry the same penalty,” said Perlich.
Investigators said they are still piecing things together and that there could be more action taken in the case. “You might see additional arrests or even a modification of charges as we progress,” said Perlich.
According to investigators, Sherin’s adoptive mother, Sini Mathews, helped with the identification of the body. But police said her cooperation ends there.
Wesley Mathews is being held on a $1 million bond.
Police say there could be additional arrests. After hearing Wesley’s newest version of events, Richardson police say they reached out to Sini Mathews, Sherin’s mother. She declined to talk to police. Police say she did help identify the body found in the culvert, providing Sherin’s dental records and identifying the clothes found in the body.