NEW YORK – The lawyer for the mother of the 3-year-old Indian American girl Sherin Mathews who has been missing since Saturday after it was reported that she was sent outside as punishment, said on Wednesday that she is “distraught” but still hopeful her daughter will be found, adding that “all she wants is for her daughter to be returned.”
According to a Dallas News report, Sherin was last seen about 3 a.m. outside her family’s Richardson backyard as her father, Wesley Mathews, was punishing her for not drinking her milk.
Her mother, Sini Mathews’ lawyer Kent Starr, spent almost two hours inside their home before speaking briefly to reporters, stressing the fact that there were no charges against Sini.
“They adopted Sherin; they love Sherin,” Starr told Dallas News mentioning that Sini hasn’t spoken publicly as “some individuals mourn differently.”
Richardson police are still looking for the toddler and have issued an Amber Alert ever since she went missing on Saturday. However, the alert was discontinued on Monday afternoon due to the lack of necessary information.
Her father, Wesley Mathews, was arrested Saturday on a charge of abandoning or endangering a child and was released from custody late Sunday after posting $250,000 bail but is required to wear an electronic monitoring device and surrender his passport as part of the conditions of his bond.
According to Wesley, at about 3 a.m., he put Sherin outside and told her to stand next to a large tree that was behind a fence, about 100 feet south of the family’s home and across an alley and even admitted to police that he knew coyotes had been seen in that specific area though, investigators have not found any indication that Sherin was dragged away.
Some 15 minutes later, Wesley checked in on Sherin but she was gone and after looking around for her, he said he went inside to do laundry and decided to wait until it was light out, to continue searching for her in hopes that she would return home on her own.
However, police weren’t informed of Sherin’s disappearance until about five hours later at 8 a.m.
“Why was the last sighting at 3 o’clock and the parents not call us until after 8 a.m.? That’s the question we want answered as well,” police Sergeant Kevin Perlich told NBC5. “As far as why she was out there, how long she was out there, that’s the questions we have for the parents.”
The girl’s mother does not face any charges. She was in the house at the time, but was reportedly asleep and unaware of what her husband was doing, Perlich said.
According to NBC 5, Texas Child Protective Services removed the toddler’s 4-year-old sister from the family Monday and placed her in protective custody as police continue to search for the missing child.
The search for the girl has expanded beyond the neighborhood and police are contacting sex offenders and businesses in the area that could potentially have useful surveillance video.
“We don’t have any other indication or evidence that she was forcibly abducted from that area,” Perlich said.
Sherin is described as three feet tall and weighs 22 pounds, she has black hair and brown eyes and was last seen wearing a pink top, black pajama bottoms and pink flip-flops.
Police said the toddler has “developmental issues and has limited verbal communication skills.”
The Mathews family adopted the girl two years ago at an orphanage in India and she was malnourished when the couple took her in.
Wesley told investigators that it wasn’t unusual for the girl to wake up in the middle of the night to eat something so that her weight would increase.
Investigators have seized three vehicles, cellphones and laptops from the family as well as footage from surveillance cameras in the area in an effort to find out what became of Sherin.
The community is also shaken up from the matter as well as the toddler’s great-uncle.
“I don’t know what happened,” said Philip Mathew, who arrived at the parent’s home on Monday evening with other family members, but no one answered the door, yet he insisted that the parents are good people, “they’re nice people. The parents are believers in Christ.”
Meanwhile, members of Emmanuel Bible Chapel in Irving, where Sherin and her parents attended frequently, printed fliers with the girl’s description and posted them in and around the Richland Meadows neighborhood over the weekend.
“I can’t believe I have to do this right now, I never thought this day would come that the cutest baby in our church has gone missing,” Joanna Cherian told NBC 5 in disbelief.
“I can’t say anything about that. The parents are also loving. They loved Sherin very much. They take care of her very much,” said Jose Cherian, the church elder.
“She’s very much worried and depressed,” Jose said of Sherin’s mother.
“If anyone have in possession baby Sherin, please bring back and report to police, to Richardson police. Those who, any of you who brings the baby God will bless you. God will reward you,” he added.
Anyone with information about Sherin Mathews or her location was asked to contact the Richardson Police Department at 972-744-4800.