Mom of Missing Texas Girl, 3, 'Distraught': Attorney - NBC Chicago
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Mom of Missing Texas Girl, 3, 'Distraught': Attorney

The girl's father, Wesley Mathews, was arrested Saturday for abandoning or endangering a child and released Sunday on bond

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Richardson police say the parents of a 3-year-old girl who went missing after being left outside Saturday have hired attorneys and are no longer cooperating with investigators. (Published Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017)

    An attorney representing the mother of a missing 3-year-old girl in Richardson said Wednesday that the woman is "distraught" over the disappearance of her daughter.

    Attorney Kent Starr met with Sini Mathews at the family's home and then briefly addressed reporters outside. Starr said the parents have two attorneys to avoid any potential conflict of interest.

    Starr said Mathews has spoken with Richardson police and has cooperated with police. He said all she wants is for her daughter back and is "very hopeful that her daughter will be returned."

    But Richardson police told NBC 5 that both parents stopped co-operating over the weekend.

    The child, Sherin Mathews, was reportedly last seen at 3 a.m. Saturday by her father, Wesley Mathews.

    Mathews told investigators that he told the child to stand by a tree, 100 feet from their home, after not drinking her milk, according to police. He reported the child missing five hours later, police said.

    Wesley Mathews was arrested Saturday on a child endangerment charge, and he was released Sunday night on $250,000 bond.

    Police have said the girl's mother was asleep and is not facing charges.

    Speaking as to why Sini Mathews has hired an attorney, Starr said everybody has a right to legal council and the fact the Wesley Mathews may be accused of a crime is not indicative that his wife is involved.

    "There has been no accusations of wrongdoing against Mrs. Mathews," Starr said.

    FBI Evidence Team Processes Home

    An FBI Evidence Response team worked through the night Tuesday to process the family's Richardson home.

    The search for the adopted girl has also expanded beyond the immediate neighborhood.

    The FBI Evidence Response team arrived at about 7 p.m., shortly after Richardson police knocked on the door with a search warrant. The team could be seen combing for clues in the front and back yards.

    Richardson police would not elaborate on what prompted the search, only saying it is where the "natural progression of the investigation" led them.

    One of three vehicles taken from the home of a missing 3-year-old to be examined for possible clues in the child’s disappearance has been released, according to Richardson Police.

    A Lexus, driven by Sini, was returned to her late Wednesday. Two other vehicles, an Audi and a minivan, remain in police custody.

    Police confirmed the girl is still considered missing and said no arrests have been made in her disappearance.

    An Amber Alert was discontinued Monday afternoon because there had been no new information in the case, but authorities said the alert could be re-activated in the future.

    A criminal defense attorney spent about an hour at the home late Tuesday afternoon, but left without answering questions from the media.

    Meanwhile, Richardson police provided Tuesday a more detailed timeline of the disappearance of the girl and the time that elapsed before she was reported missing by her father, 37-year-old Wesley Mathews.

    According to police, the girl's father told detectives he directed the girl to stand next to a tree behind the fence at their home after she wouldn't drink her milk at about 3 a.m. Saturday. The tree is across an alley and about 100 feet away from the home.

    A police affidavit said Mathews returned to get his daughter about 15 minutes later, but he discovered that she was gone. He set out to try to find her, but was unable to.

    Mathews then went inside his home, hoping she would return on her own, according to police Sgt. Kevin Perlich. Mathews then did a load of laundry and wanted to wait for daylight to search for her again.

    The father didn't notify police that his daughter was missing for about five hours, Perlich said, adding that the delay in reporting the matter "is certainly concerning to us."

    "That does not seem like a normal response that one would do if you have a missing child," Perlich said.

    The girl's father was arrested Saturday on a charge of abandoning or endangering a child. He was released from jail Sunday night on a $250,000 bond.

    Police said the girl’s mother was reportedly asleep during the entire incident. She does not face charges at this time.

    Officials with Texas Child Protective Services removed the toddler's 4-year-old sister from the family Monday and placed her in protective custody as police continue to search for the missing child.

    CPS would only say they have had "contact" with the Mathews family before, but "details are confidential."

    Police said Wesley Mathews told detectives he knew coyotes were seen in the area where he left his daughter, but investigators say there's no indication one may have dragged the girl away.

    Ongoing Search

    The search for the girl has expanded beyond the neighborhood and include making contact with sex offenders in the area and businesses that could potentially have useful surveillance video.

    "We don't have any other indication or evidence that she was forcibly abducted from that area," Perlich said.

    Sherin Mathews is described as 3 feet tall and 22 pounds with black hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing a pink top, black pajama bottoms and pink flip-flops.

    Police said the toddler has "developmental issues and has limited verbal communication skills." The Mathews family adopted the girl two years ago at an orphanage in India. 

    Sherin was malnourished when the couple took her in, and Mathews told investigators it wasn't unusual for the girl to wake up late at night to eat so that her weight would increase, Perlich said.

    Investigators have seized three vehicles, cellphones and laptops from the family in an effort to find out what became of Sherin, Perlich said. Footage from surveillance cameras in the area also is being reviewed.

    Community Reacts

    “I don’t know what happened,” said Philip Mathew, Sherin Mathews's great-uncle.

    Mathew and others arrived at the family’s home on Monday evening, but no one answered the door.

    Mathew insists the girl's parents are good people.

    “They’re nice people. The parents are believers in Christ,” he said.

    Meanwhile, members of Emmanuel Bible Chapel in Irving, where Sherin and her parents are members, printed fliers with the girl's description and posted them in and around the Richland Meadows neighborhood over the weekend. Joanna Cherian walked around to any post she could find and taped fliers.

    “I can’t believe I have to do this right now,” she said in disbelief. “I never thought this day would come that the cutest baby in our church has gone missing.”

    Church elder Jose Cherian was asked about the allegations surrounding the girl's father.

    “I can’t say anything about that,” he responded.

    Cherian did speak about the girl’s mother, who police say is not facing any charges at this time.

    “She’s very much worried and depressed,” he said. “If anyone have in possession baby Sherin, please bring back and report to police, to Richardson police. Those who, any of you who brings the baby God will bless you. God will reward you,” he said.

    Anyone with information about Sherin Mathews or her location was asked to contact the Richardson Police Department at 972-744-4800.

    NBC 5's Diana Zoga contributed to this report.