DALLAS, TEXAS: The foster father of the three-year-old Indian girl found dead in a culvert in Texas last October has been charged with her murder. Wesley Mathews, who was arrested soon after after he changed his story about his adopted daughter Sherin Mathews’ disappearance, was initially charged with injury to a child. He will now also face a murder charge after the autopsy of the child revealed she died from “homicidal violence”.
Sherin Mathews was reported missing by her father in October last year, who had at the time said he left her outside their house as punishment for not drinking her milk. Wesley Mathews later changed his statement to say that she died after choking while he was forcing her to drink milk, following which he was arrested.
His change of statement came after a massive search for the three-year-old ended with the police finding her body at a culvert near their home in Dallas, Texas.
Sini Mathews, Sherin’s mother, was also indicted with a charge of child abandonment against her. If convicted, she could get a prison sentence of two to 20 years. A statement from Sini Mathews’ lawyers said that the indictments indicated that she had nothing to do with Sherin’s death.
On Friday, a lawyer said Wesley Mathews faces a charge of capital murder, which is punishable by either life imprisonment or death sentence. However, a statement said that the District Attorney’s office was yet to decide on whether they will seek the death sentence or not. Anupam Ray, the Consul General of India, was present at the press conference.
“We can’t go into details, but based on that autopsy report, we were able to determine that we can seek capital murder for this case,” Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson said.
Wesley Mathews is also facing charges of abandoning a child and evidence tampering.