Foster mother accused in three-year-old Sherin's death walks free

Sherin Mathew parents
Wesley Mathews (left), Sherin Mathews (centre) and Wesley's wife Sini.

Washington: Sini Mathews, the adoptive mother of three-year-old Indian girl Sherin Mathews who was found dead in a ditch in Texas in 2017, has been released from jail after the child endangerment charges filed against her were dismissed due to insufficient evidence.

The Dallas County District Attorney's office said in a news release on Friday that prosecutors could not make a case against Sini Mathews - but left open the possibility of refilling the charge, reported WFAA, an ABC-affiliated television station.

"After extensive investigation it has been determined that the state cannot prove this matter beyond a reasonable doubt at this time," read a motion filed by prosecutors and signed by state District Judge Amber Givens-Davis.

Sini Mathews was released from jail on Friday afternoon while her husband, Wesley Mathews, still faces a capital murder charge in the child's death. He has been indicted on charges of capital murder, injury to a child and tampering with evidence.

Wesley and Sini, who hail from Kerala adopted the girl from an orphanage in Bihar on June 2016. Sherin Mathews disappeared on October 7, 2017, and her foster father initially told the police that he had sent her out in the wee hours of the morning as punishment for not drinking her milk.

On October 22, Sherin Mathews' body was found in a culvert in Richardson under a road about one kilometre from her home in suburban Dallas.

Wesley Mathews then admitted to the police that the child choked while he was making her drink milk and died in their home. He also said that the family had gone out to dinner and left Sherin behind, a day before she died.

The man was later indicted for capital murder by a grand jury and for tampering with evidence. His wife Sini Mathews was charged with endangering a child.

Sherin Mathews

Dr Suzanne Dakil, a paediatrician and child abuse expert, had testified before a court earlier that the three-year-old had a series of broken bones and injuries and that the the pattern of injuries led her to believe that Sherin Mathews was abused on separate occasions.

The Richardson police in a statement on Friday said they were "disappointed" with Sini Mathews' case dismissal but would continue working with the district attorney's office "to ensure justice is done".

Talking to reporters after her release from the Dallas County Jail, Sini Mathews said she felt "blessed" to be released and that her time in jail was "challenging". She said she "absolutely" loved Sherin.

Sini had lost the parental right to her biological daughter following the incident. The daughter currently, lives with her relatives in Houston.

Wesley Mathews remains jailed in lieu of $1 million bail. His trial is scheduled for May.

Sherin's case had attracted international attention and the Indian government revoked the Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) immigration status of Wesley and Sini.

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