DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Some North Texas parents are drafting a new law in Sherin Mathews’ name. The 3-year-old was found dead last October with her adoptive parents facing charges in her death.
At Klyde Warren Park Sunday, Reena Bana and Shanna Poteet called for action, working to pass new legislation that would make it illegal to leave a child home alone between five and eight years old. The pair is contemplating the age range and talked with people for suggestions on that at the park.
Attorney Bilal Khaleeq is working with the pair.
“Currently, on the books, there is n0 minimum age that a child can be left alone. It’s left to the parents’ discretion,” said Khaleeq. “I’m a father. I know when my children were 5 and 8. I couldn’t leave them home alone at all.”
The proposed law would require parents to report a child missing within one hour and require any adult who sees a child being abused to report it.
“The parents are solely responsible for taking care of her, but there are other people too who could’ve helped her as well,” said Poteet about Sherin.
They followed the high-profile death of Sherin Mathews from when she was missing in October to her parents being charged in her death.
Poteet helped search for Sherin after she vanished, and both women were at Restland Cemetary the day a memorial was dedicated to the toddler.
Wesley and Sini Mathews are accused in the death of their adoptive child. Sherin’s body was found in a culvert near the Richardson family’s home in October.
Police say Wesley Mathews originally reported her missing. The father later told police he left the child outside as punishment for not drinking her milk.
Wesley Mathews has been charged with capital murder while Sini Mathews has been charged with child endangerment.
The group plans to keep pushing their mission forward. “It’s about holding people accountable,” said Bana.
They’re hoping tougher laws prevent another tragedy like Sherin’s.
Part of the proposed penalties include a third-degree felony for parents who fail to report a missing child.