Houston: Sherin Mathews, a 3-year-old Indian girl who was found dead in a culvert after being reported missing by her foster father, had a series of broken bones and injuries in various stages of healing, a doctor testified before the court.
Sherin, reported missing on October 7, was found dead in a culvert about 1 km from her home in suburban Dallas on October 22.
Her autopsy report is still awaited.
She was adopted by the Indian-American couple, Wesley and Sini Mathews, from an orphanage in India in 2016.
Her adoptive parents lost custody of their biological child after Sherin went missing.
He parents appeared before a court Wednesday for a long Child Protective Services (CPS) custody hearing about their biological daughter, currently living with family in the Houston-area.
Wesley was brought via van to the courthouse. He is expected to either surrender his parental rights for his 4-year-old daughter or have them terminated by the state.
Sini, who aims to regain custody of her biological daughter, 4, sought right to visit her biological daughter.
Sini took to the witness stand first, but invoked her Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate herself many times during questioning. One exception came when she was asked if she is a trained nurse to which she responded, "yes".
When Wesley took the stand, he opted to invoke his Fifth Amendment right as well and answered no questions pertaining to Sherin's death or disappearance.
Prosecution pressed Sini about former CPS involvement, alleging Sherin formerly had a broken femur, elbow and tibia, but she did not confirm the allegations.
The prosecution called to the stand a paediatrician and child abuse expert, Susan Dakil of Referral and Evaluation of At Risk Children Clinic, who testified that the injuries were visible in various X-ray scans taken in September 2016 and February 2017. Dakil said the scans suggest the injuries were inflicted after Sherin was adopted from India.
The X-rays from February showed that fractures in Sherin's tibia and femur were in different stages of healing, WFAA reported.
The pattern of injuries led Dakil to believe that Sherin was injured on separate occasions, but Dakil could not say when they occurred. The doctor filed a report with Child Protective Services after seeing the X-rays, the station reported.
The hearing, which ended for the week, will resume on Tuesday. Two more witnesses are scheduled to take the stand.
Sini, who is behind bars on child endangerment charges, had her bond reduced from USD 250,000 to USD 100,000 on Monday.
Wesley was arrested and charged with felony injury to a child, which carries a sentence of up to life in prison. He is still in the Dallas County jail on a USD 1 million bond.