Adoptive Father Said He Sent The Toddler Outside At 3AM As Punishment

RICHARDSON (CBSDFW.COM) – It’s been four days since a North Texas toddler was reported missing and authorities still have no idea where she is. Now officials are stepping up their efforts to find 3-year-old Sherin Mathews.

On Tuesday police and FBI agents served a warrant at the girl’s home in the 900 block of Sunningdale in Richardson, where she lived with her adoptive parents and sister. They gathered potential evidence through the night and into the early morning hours.

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Police told CBS 11 News that the girl’s adopted father, Wesley Mathews, must wear an ankle monitor as part of his bond agreement after being charged with abandoning or endangering a child. He was also required to surrender his passport.

Mathews told police that as punishment for not drinking her milk he told his daughter to go out into an alley behind the house and stand near a tree – that was around 3 a.m. on Saturday. Mathews said he went to check on Sherin about 15 minutes later and saw that she was gone.

After realizing she was missing Mathews said he decided to search further once the sun came up and passed the time by doing laundry. It wasn’t until 8 a.m. that police were called.

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A criminal defense attorney visited Mathews and his wife earlier on Tuesday and the couple had left the house by the time police arrived to execute the search warrant.

Former FBI Associate Deputy Director Buck Revell, who is not working the case, says investigators are likely just trying to figure out if little Sherin was abducted or walked away on her own.

“And the reason the FBI came in is to look at the possibility that it was a taking of the child by an unauthorized person,” he said. “Based on the story [given to police by the father] that is not very credible, but it is still possible.”

Revell said in addition being lost or abducted investigators have to consider other, darker, scenarios for Sherin’s disappearance. “One of the things you have to look at… has the child been sold? And that does occur. In this case it’s an adopted child, so that doesn’t mean that it’s more likely, but it means it’s a possibility,” he said.

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Police are asking anyone with information on the whereabouts of Sherin Mathews to call 972-744-4800.