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Body identified as missing Texas girl Sherin Mathews

Missing Texas toddler
Missing Texas toddler 00:37

RICHARDSON, Texas —  The Dallas County Medical Examiner has determined that the body of a young girl found Sunday morning in a culvert is that of 3-year-old Sherin Mathews, the Richardson Police Department confirmed in a tweet.

Mathews' adoptive father Wesley was arrested Monday and charged with felony injury to a child. Wesley Mathews initially said the child vanished Oct. 7 after he sent the girl outside as punishment for not drinking her milk. But the father changed his story Monday afternoon, telling police she choked while drinking milk at 3 a.m. and that he took her body outside after he believed she had died.

The new version of events was described in Mathews' arrest warrant Monday.

Sherin Mathews CBS Dallas/Fort Worth

The warrant say Mathews told investigators he had been trying to get the adopted child, who was born in India, to drink her milk in the garage, but she wouldn't listen to him. Eventually, he said, the girl began to drink the milk. Mathews said he physically assisted the girl in drinking the milk, and that's when the child began to choke.

"She was coughing and her breathing slowed," the warrant says. "Eventually, Wesley Mathews no longer felt a pulse on the child and believed she had died."

He then admitted to removing the girl's body from the home, the warrant says.

Authorities using dogs to search for Sherin found the remains Sunday in a drainage tunnel about a half-mile from the family's home. The Medical Examiner announced Tuesday that dental records were used to match Sherin's identity to her body. 

Wesley Matthews and his wife, Sini Mathews, attended a court hearing before his arrest Monday to determine whether they could regain custody of their 4-year-old biological daughter, who was placed in protective custody after her sister went missing. The judge postponed the hearing until Nov. 13 to give Wesley Mathews time to hire a civil attorney, said Marissa Gonzales, a spokeswoman for Child Protective Services. The girl will remain in foster care at least until that hearing or until a judge orders a change in custody. 

Wesley Mathews CBS DFW

Kent Starr, an attorney for Sini Mathews, said that as part of Wesley Mathews' bond agreement, the couple cannot live together. Starr told The Dallas Morning News that his client is seeking to regain custody of her other daughter and that she has cooperated with the police in trying to help identify Sherin's body.  

Wesley Mathews is being held on a $1 million bond, CBS DFW reports.

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