Sherin Mathews' adoptive father's first narrative of what happened to her
On Saturday, Oct. 7, an Amber Alert was issued for 3-year-old Sherin Mathews after her adoptive father, Wesley Mathews, called police and alerted them of her disappearance.
At that time, Wesley told police he took his daughter, Sherin, outside at 3 a.m. on Saturday to discipline her for not drinking her milk. According an affidavit, he told her to stand near a large tree in the backyard. When he went outside 15 minutes later, his daughter was gone.
Wesley told police that coyotes had been spotted in the alley where he left his daughter. The house in the 900 block of Sunningdale backs up to railroad tracks.
According to Richardson Police Sgt. Kevin Perlich, authorities weren't called to the home until some five hours after the child was last seen.
"While he was waiting he did a little laundry and hoped that the light would come around and he could do a better check," Richardson Police Sgt. Kevin Perlich said.
Wesley was arrested the same day Sherin was reported missing and charged with abandoning or endangering a child. On Sunday, Oct. 8, he was arraigned on the endangerment charge and a judge set his bond at $250,000. He was released from jail a day later. Wesley was placed on electronic ankle monitoring and surrendered his passport as a condition of making bond.
Two days later after the original alert on Monday, Oct. 9, the Amber Alert was canceled. According to police it was canceled due to a shortage of leads and information. Police canvassed the area for days while neighbors were posting new fliers around the neighborhood and organizing search parties through Facebook groups.
At the time, police said Sherin's adoptive mother, Sini Mathews, claimed to be asleep during the incident and did not face charges.
The Mathews have a biological 4-year-old daughter who was removed from the home and placed in foster care during the time of Wesley's arrest, according to Marissa Gonzales, a spokeswoman with Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.
Detectives in Richardson filed at least 30 search warrants related to the investigation.
Search warrants obtained by WFAA reveal FBI detectives seized a variety of electronics, including five cellphones, three laptops, a tablet, and a digital camera from the family home.
In total, FBI agents listed 47 items seized from the home, including trash bags, a pink blanket, and a pink t-shirt.
In another search warrant for the family's 2013 Acura MDX, detectives collected a floor mat, DNA swabs, and a USB drive. That vehicle is at the center of the investigation as Richardson police have said the vehicle was not at home between 4 and 5 a.m. the morning Wesley says his daughter disappeared.
Search warrants were also conducted on two other vehicles owned by Wesley and Sini. Both indicated multiple swabs were taken from the vehicles, but detectives said the focus of their investigation remained on the whereabouts of the Acura SUV.
After missing for two weeks, countless search efforts by police, and community members, a small child's body was found in a drain culvert during a search operation on Sunday, Oct. 22. The culvert is less than a mile away from the Mathews' home.
Police were not able to immediately identify the body. Two days later, on Oct. 24, The Dallas County medical examiner confirmed that the body found was that of Sherin Mathews. Officials were able to confirm her identity with dental records provided by Sini.