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World America 25 Oct 2017 Body found is that o ...

Body found is that of missing Indian girl, father says she choked on milk

AGENCIES
Published Oct 25, 2017, 9:01 am IST
Updated Oct 25, 2017, 3:28 pm IST
The father was re-arrested and charged with first-degree felony injury to a child due to a conflicting statement to police.
(Photo: Richardson Texas Police Department via AP)
 (Photo: Richardson Texas Police Department via AP)

Dallas: The three-year-old Indian girl missing for over two weeks is dead, US police said on Tuesday.

The girl, who had developmental issues and limited verbal communication skills, was last seen outside her family’s backyard in Richardson city in Texas on October 7.

 

The Richardson Police earlier announced that they discovered the remains of a small child in a tunnel beneath a road, expressing apprehension that it was “most likely” that of the missing girl. The body was found about 1 km from the house of her adoptive parents Wesley and Sini Mathews.

Police said medical examiners used dental records to identify the child. Her cause of death is still pending.

The Richardson Police Department has re-arrested the foster father of the girl.

Mathews, 37, who hails from Kerala, has been charged with first-degree felony injury to a child and was held Tuesday on $1 million bond.

Read: US: Father of missing Indian girl arrested day after a child's body found

Mathews and his wife Sini reportedly adopted the girl two years ago from an orphanage in Bihar.

Wesley Mathews was arrested on Monday after changing his story about what had happened. 

He initially said Sherin disappeared after he sent her outside at 3 am as punishment for not drinking her milk. He later said she choked on milk and he disposed of her body after she died.

Mathews was earlier free on bond after being charged with abandoning or endangering a child. 

Read: US: India-born girl, 3, goes missing after father sends her out as punishment

According to police, Mathews said the girl was developmentally disabled and malnourished when he and his wife adopted her, and that they had to put her on a special diet that included feeding her whenever she was awake, including in the middle of the night, to help her gain weight.

Wesley Mathews had previously told the police that after doing an initial search once he realised his daughter was missing, he went inside and did laundry while waiting for her to come home or for daylight so that he could continue looking.

He and his wife, Sini Mathews, attended a court hearing earlier on Monday to determine whether they could regain custody of their 4-year-old biological daughter, who was placed in protective custody after her sister went missing. 

The judge postponed the hearing until November 13 to give Wesley Mathews time to hire a civil attorney, said Marissa Gonzales, a spokeswoman for Child Protective Services. The girl will remain in foster care at least until that hearing or until a judge orders a change in custody. 

"We do have the names of some relatives who have expressed interest in taking care of her," Gonzales said.

"We can begin looking into those relatives, but it is entirely up to the judge where she is placed."

Read: Grandparents distressed over missing child in Texas

Authorities using dogs to search for Sherin found the remains on Sunday in a drainage tunnel about a half-mile from the family's home.

Police said they believe Sini Mathews was sleeping when the girl went missing and was unaware of the alleged punishment.

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Location: United States, Texas, Dallas


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