Texas man Wesley Mathews faces judgment in Dallas County, Texas over the death of his three-year-old adopted daughter Sherin Mathews. He was originally charged with capital murder and tampering with evidence, but prosecutors took the death penalty off the table. Then, on Thursday, Mathews entered a so-called “slow plea” to the lesser-included offense of injury to a child by omission. In other words, he admitted to this crime, but the jury will decide what kind of punishment he’ll face. The sentencing options the jury may choose are wide: He could receive anywhere from probation to a life sentence.
Mathews lied about what happened to his daughter, cops said. First, he claimed in October 2017 that she disappeared. In this account, Mathews allegedly claimed that at about 3:00 a.m., he forced Sherin to stand outside their home next to a large tree 100 feet from their home because she didn’t drink her milk. Mathews said that he did this even though he knew coyotes had been sighted in a nearby alley, police said. In this first story, he checked in on her 15 minutes later, but realized she was gone. He only reported her missing at about 8 a.m., cops said.
Authorities say it was all a lie. Sherin was found a couple of weeks later, and investigators determined she died from a homicide. In this later account, Wesley Mathews claimed that his daughter choked on her milk, so he hid her body in a culvert because he thought she was dead, cops said.
Court documents alleged that Sherin’s parents neglected and abused her in the time frame leading up to her death: for example, they failed to give her enough nutrition and neglected to immediately take her to the doctor for bone fractures.
The mother, Sini Mathews, was charged with a count of abandoning or endangering a child, but that count was dropped last March 1st when prosecutors announced they couldn’t prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. She told reporters that she loved Sherin, according to The Dallas Morning News.
[Image via Richardson Police Department]