Fam­ily ve­hi­cle left af­ter miss­ing girl sent out­side

Po­lice seek video footage from area neigh­bors, busi­nesses

The Dallas Morning News - - Front Page - By MARC RAMIREZ Staff Writer mramirez@dal­las­news.com

About an hour af­ter the fa­ther of a miss­ing 3-year-old says he sent her out­side to an al­ley as a pun­ish­ment, one of the Richard­son fam­ily's ve­hi­cles left the home, po­lice say.

About an hour af­ter the fa­ther of a miss­ing 3-year-old says he sent her out­side to an al­ley as pun­ish­ment for not drink­ing her milk, one of the Ric har ds o n fam­ily’s ve­hi­cles left the home, po­lice said Thurs­day.

Sherin Mathews was re­ported miss­ing Satur­day morn­ing, when her fa­ther, Wes­ley Mathews, told po­lice he had last seen the girl about 3:15 a.m. Between 4 and 5 a.m. Satur­day morn­ing, the fam­ily’s 2013 ma­roon Acura MDX SUV was ab­sent from their home, of­fi­cials said.

Po­lice are ask­ing neigh­bors and busi­ness own­ers to re­view and share video footage that could show the ve­hi­cle’s where­abouts the morn­ing the preschooler dis­ap­peared.

Wes­ley Mathews, 37, told po­lice he put Sherin in an al­ley near their house in the 900 block of Sun­ning­dale, where coy­otes pre­vi­ously had been spot­ted, to pun­ish her, ac­cord­ing to an ar­rest war­rant af­fi­davit.

He told the girl to stand next to a large tree about 3 a.m., the af­fi­davit said.

The tree was be­hind a fence, about 100 feet south of the fam­ily’s home and across an al­ley.

The fa­ther told po­lice Sherin was gone when he went to check on her 15 min­utes later, the af­fi­davit said.

Af­ter look­ing for her, he said he went in­side to do laun­dry and de­cided to wait un­til it was light out to con­tinue search­ing or for her to re­turn on her own, po­lice Sgt.

Kevin Per­lich said.

Po­lice weren’ t alerted to the girl’s dis­ap­pear­ance un­til about five hours later.

Mathews was ar­rested Satur­day on a charge of aban­don­ing or en­dan­ger­ing a child. He was re­leased from cus­tody late Sun­day af­ter post­ing $250,000 bail. He is re­quired to wear an elec­tronic mon­i­tor­ing de­vice and had to sur­ren­der his pass­port as part of the con­di­tions of his bond.

The girl’s mother was in the house at the time, but was re­port­edly asleep and un­aware of what her hus­band was do­ing, Per­lich said.

On Wed­nes­day, the at­tor­ney rep­re­sent­ing Sini Mathews said t hat all Sherin’s mother “wants is for her daugh­ter to be re­turned.”

Po­lice is­sued an Am­ber Alert on Satur­day but dis­con­tin­ued it be­cause it drew in­suf­fi­cient tips.

Sherin, who has de­vel­op­men­tal is­sues and lim­ited ver­bal com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills, was adopted two years ago from an or­phan­age in In­dia.

She was mal­nour­ished and phys­i­cally un­der­de­vel­oped and does not have the same lan­guage skills of a typ­i­cal 3-year-old, Per­lich said.

Child Pro­tec­tive Ser­vices spokes­woman Marissa Gon­za­les said the agency is work­ing with law-en­force­ment of­fi­cials on the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

She said the cou­ple’s 4-year-old daugh­ter was re­moved from the Richard­son home early Mon­day and placed in foster care. The fam­ily has had pre­vi­ous con­tact with CPS, Gon­za­les said, but fur­ther de­tails were not re­leased. Nei­ther child had been in foster care be­fore Sherin’s dis­ap­pear­ance.

Starr, Sini Mathews’ at­tor­ney, said Wed­nes­day that nei­ther par­ent had ever harmed Sherin, but he said he could not com­ment on the pre­vi­ous CPS con­tact.

Sherin is de­scribed as Asian, about 3 feet tall and 22 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes.

She was last seen wear­ing a pink top, black pa­jama bot­toms and pink flip-flops.

Any­one with in­for­ma­tion about the girl or with video footage is en­cour­aged to con­tact Richard­son po­lice at 972-744-4800.

SHERIN MATHEWS

WES­LEY MATHEWS

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