DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - A Child Protective Services (CPS) hearing for custody of the biological child of Wesley and Sini Mathews is scheduled today in a Dallas County courtroom. The two are the adoptive parents of Sherin Mathews -- the 3-year-old whose body was found in a culvert last year, not far from the family's Richardson home.
The hearing centers around the parental custody of the Mathews' 4-year-old biological daughter, who CPS removed from the family home on the same day Sherin was reported missing.
Before the hearing got underway, attorney Mitch Nolte confirmed with CBS 11 News that the couple would relinquish their parental rights to the girl and that's exactly what happened when the hearing got underway just before 11 a.m.
The move by Wesley and Sini Mathews will eventually allow for the girl to be adopted by family members in the Houston-area who are currently her guardians. CPS spokeswoman Marissa Gonzales said, "They had to go through an extensive home study and background checks and checks on the safety of the home to make sure it was safe for the child... make sure it will be a healthy environment."
CPS is now the permanent conservator of the Mathews biological child and their decision to relinquish their rights leaves open the possibility of them potentially having supervised visits with the child at some point.
The attorney for Sini Mathews said the couple made a "tough and difficult decision" but believe they did what they thought was in the best interest of their daughter.
Both Wesley and Sini Mathews remain behind bars accused of crimes against their adopted daughter Sherin. Mr. Mathews is charged with Injury to a Child, while Mrs. Mathews is charged with Child Endangerment.
An arrest affidavit shows the couple took their biological daughter to dinner on October 6, leaving Sherin home alone for more than an hour.
On October 7 Wesley Mathews reported Sherin missing, saying that as punishment for not drinking her milk he sent the little girl outside at 3 a.m. to stand by a tree about 100 feet outside their backyard.
It wasn't until two weeks later, on October 22, when the little girls body was found. After that discovery Wesley Mathews changed his story, claiming he "physically assisted the 3-year-old girl in drinking the milk" and that the toddler choked and after coughing for a while her breathing slowed.
Mr. Mathews said when he could no longer feel Sherin's pulse he "believed she had died" and removed the little girl from the house.
Last November, during a CPS hearing for the Mathews' biological child, a doctor testified Sherin Mathews showed signs of abuse including broken bones in various stages of healing. During a subsequent hearing a judge ruled the couple could have no contact with their biological daughter.
It was just after New Year's Day when the Dallas County Medical Examiner listed Sherin's official cause of death a result of "homicidal violence".
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