RICHARDSON (CBSDFW.COM) – The parents of a missing Richardson toddler were in court this morning — less than 24 hours after the body of a small child was discovered not far from the family home.
Wesley and Sini Mathews are the adoptive parents of Sherin Mathews, the toddler who has been missing for more than two weeks. The couple went before a judge, along with officials from Texas Child Protective Services (CPS), concerning the custody of their 4-year-old biological child. CPS removed the little girl from the home and placed her in foster care just days after Sherin disappeared.
Through an attorney, Wesley Mathews asked for more time in the case so that he could get a civil attorney to represent him in the custody hearing – he currently only has a criminal lawyer. The judge granted an extension and scheduled a new custody hearing for November 13, but said the 4-year-old would remain in foster care until then.
The judge said the extension would also allow time for CPS to conduct a home study in Fort Bend County, about 40 miles southwest of Houston, to determine if relatives or family friends there could take custody of the 4-year-old if necessary.
The Mathews’, who went into the courtroom separately, didn’t make any comments but Kent Starr, the attorney representing Sini Mathews, did say his client was, “…participating with the police department to identify whether or not the body that was discovered in Richardson, Texas is that of Sherin Mathews.”
Investigators with the Richardson Police Department have been conducting searches for the missing 3-year-old across North Texas, but it was Sunday when Sergeant Kevin Perlich announced, “During one of those search operations the body of a small child was discovered in the area of East Spring Valley Road and South Bowser Road.”
Police say they can only confirm that the body of an unknown child was located. “The indications are that it is most likely her, however we have not had a positive ID,” explained Perlich. “So until we have a positive identification we are not gonna say that it is Sherin.”
Police had brought in canines to search the area around a culvert, that runs for some 100 feet, when the body was discovered. Police say Sherin’s parents were notified that a body had been found.
Sherin Mathews went missing on the morning of October 7. Wesley Mathews told police that he had sent his daughter outside to stand by a tree at 3 a.m. as punishment for not drinking her milk. Mathews said he went to check on Sherin about 15 minutes later and saw that she was gone. It would be some five hours before he called police to report her missing.
Both Richardson police and the FBI have served search warrants at the Mathew’s home, in the 900 block of Sunningdale, and have collected clothing, electronics and differed DNA swabs from the house and family vehicles.
Wesley Mathews was arrested and charged with child endangerment, but is free on bond. The 37-year-old was ordered to turn over his passport, is required to wear an ankle monitor and cannot have contact with any minor child..
Since the discovery of the body on Sunday no charges have been filed against anyone and no arrests have been made.
An autopsy has been performed but the child had not yet been officially identified as of Monday evening.