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Missing Texas Toddler Investigation Generating Interest In India

RICHARDSON (CBSDFW.COM) - Authorities in Richardson are still searching for missing toddler Sherin Mathews, and a prayer vigil is planned for Friday night. But now, this case is generating international interest, as government officials in the 3-year-old girl's home country of India have expressed concern.

India's minister of external affairs took to Twitter on Thursday to address the North Texas case. Sushma Swaraj tweeted, "We are deeply concerned about the missing child. Indian Embassy in U.S. is actively involved and they keep me informed." Then, a second tweet wondered, "Drones, choppers and cadaver dogs: where is Sherin Mathews?"

Law enforcement officials have seized multiple items including cell phones, laptop computers, a washer and dryer, clothing, a car air filter and a car navigation system, all in hopes of locating some evidence against the little girl's adoptive father, Wesley Mathews. He was arrested and charged with child endangerment on the day that the toddler was reported as missing.

That was back on October 7. The girl's father told investigators that he left his adopted daughter outside at 3:00 a.m. as a form of punishment after the child did not drink her milk. He is now out of jail, but was forced to give up his passport and wear an ankle monitor. The court has also said that he cannot have contact with any minors.

Dr. Alex del Carmen is a criminologist who trains investigators to look for DNA residue, along with digital evidence like email, text messages and Google searches. He explained that this is all part of a disciplined, organized response -- one that takes time and that the public often does not understand.

"There are hundreds of people -- not a dozen, but hundreds of people -- that are working on this case right now," explained del Carmen, "trying to piece it all together, because there is the presumption that she is, in fact, alive." Members of the Mansfield Police Department and Johnson County Sheriff's Office assisted in the search earlier this week.

The toddler's parents will be in court on Monday for a separate hearing, as they try to regain custody of their other daughter, a 4-year-old biological child who was removed from the home by Child Protective Services two days after the 3-year-old girl was reported as missing. CPS has confirmed that it has been involved with the Mathews family before, but has not said why.

"It's unfair for that child too," said Rowlett resident Jessy Thomas, who stopped by the Mathews house on Friday to show love and concern for the missing todder at an outdoor memorial. "At least they can think about that child, that she's also suffering because of their actions."

Meanwhile, a prayer vigil for Sherin Mathews will be held on Friday at 6:00 p.m. at the tree in front of the family's home.

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