US jury indicts Sherin Mathews' father on capital murder charge

Sherin Mathews was found dead in a culvert after being reported missing by her foster father. Photograph:( WION )

WION Web Team New Delhi, India Jan 13, 2018, 06.09 AM (IST)

The adopted father of three-year-old Sherin Mathews, whose body was found in a culvert about 1 km from their Dallas home in October, was today indicted for murder by a Dallas County grand jury in the United States.

"We can't go into details, but based on that autopsy report, we were able to determine that we can seek capital murder for this case," Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson said at a news conference announcing the indictment.

Sherin was reported missing on October 7, less than a year after she was adopted from an Indian orphanage. Her body was found on October 22 by a cadaver dog during a massive search for the missing toddler.

The adopted father Wesley, who had initially told police that Sherin disappeared overnight after he ordered her to stand outside at about 3 am for not drinking her milk, has also been indicted on charges of abandoning a child and tampering with evidence.

Wesley says that when he returned she had disappeared and that her location was unknown.

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.

The Medical Examiner's office ruled last week the toddler died of "homicidal violence."

Prosecutors are not revealing what else they may know about how the little girl was killed.

"The evidence is still unfolding in this case. We don't want anything to jeopardize this case. We think that we have a great case, we plan to pursue this case vigorously, and we don't want anything to hamper it in any kind of way," Johnson said.

Wesley's wife wife, 35-year-old Sini Mathews, is also in jail and is being held on a USD 100,000 bond for child endangerment and abandonment for allegedly leaving Sherin home alone while she, her husband, and their other daughter went to dinner on October 6, the night before Wesley reported Sherin missing.

Her attorney said Wesley's indictments confirmed that she had nothing to do with Sherin's death.

"The indictments handed down today by a Dallas County Grand Jury confirm what we have previously stated. Sini Mathews had nothing to do with the tragic death of Sherin Mathews," Mitchell Nolte and Gregg Gibbs, attorneys for Sini Mathews, said in a statement today.

(With inputs from PTI)
 

Story highlights

The adopted father of three-year-old Sherin Mathews, whose body was found in a culvert about 1 km from their Dallas home in October, was today indicted for murder by a Dallas County grand jury in the United States