Texas: Sini Mathews, mother of Sherin whose body was found under a drainage culvert here last month after she was reported missing, was arrested on Thursday for child endangerment. Sherin's father Wesley Mathews is from Kochi in Kerala.
The police said both the parents left three-year-old Sherin Mathews alone while they went to dinner with their biological daughter the night before the girl was reported missing. Sini Mathews turned herself in at Richardson police station after which the arrest was recorded.
Cell phone records and receipts place Sini and Wesley at the restaurant the night of October 6. The receipt indicated that the family ordered one child's meal at the restaurant, which was also confirmed by the waiter serving their table.
Sini Mathews’ bail bond has been set at $250,000. The investigation into the death of Sherin Mathews is continuing.
“The Dallas County Medical Examiner’s Office is continuing to work on determining the cause of death. Those results will be made available when complete,” Richardson police department said on a Facebook post.
Wesley and his wife reportedly adopted Sherin two years ago from an orphanage in Bihar.
The 32-year-old Wesley was previously arrested and charged for endangerment to a child and was placed on electronic ankle monitoring. He surrendered his passport as a condition for making bond on October 9. He was later released.
Wesley Mathews had initially said he sent Sherin outside to an alley near their house about 3 am because she refused to drink milk.
He later changed his story to say he 'physically assisted' Sherin to drink milk and she choked to death. He also admitted to removing her body from the home, said an arrest warrant affidavit.
The cause of death is still not clear. Sherin was missing for two weeks before her body was found on October 22 under a culvert by a cadaver dog during a massive search near her home in Richardson city.
Some of the proceedings of the custody hearing were delayed on Monday because of "aggravated circumstances" in the case, which was widely reported in the international media.
Sherin Mathews has been buried in an undisclosed location citing intense media glare and threats of grave desecration. Her funeral was held "according to the religious beliefs and the cultural heritage of her family", attorneys Mitchell Nolte and Gregg Gibbs said.
A statement said the funeral took place at an undisclosed location "because of personal security concerns and threats of grave desecration."
Eben Ezer cottage, the residence of the foster grandparents of Sherin Mathews in Vyttila is locked up.
The neighbors assume that the couple left the house and that the Mathews family led a socially aloof life. They never mingled with even their immediate neighbors.
“This is our paternal home and we've been living here for generations now. Wesley's father Sam Mathews built a house opposite to ours almost eighteen years ago. We hadn't been invited for any of the functions they hosted. Even when Sam's father died, neighbors came to know that after their relatives started coming in,” said a neighbor.
Wesley Mathews is the third and youngest son of Sam Mathews.
Mathews' elder son and daughter are settled in Australia. The couple visit their children every year and hence they are rarely seen at Eben Ezer cottage, their residence in Vyttila.
Even the family who stays on rent in the first floor of Eben Ezer cottage didn't know that Wesley Mathews was the son of their house owners until media persons began to visit the place following the news break.