RICHARDSON, Texas - A community group is thanking the Richardson Police Department for its ongoing work investigating a 3-year-old girl’s death.
Sherin Mathews was falsely reported missing by her adoptive father in October. Her body was later found in a drainage ditch in Richardson.
Although her cause of death and autopsy results are still pending, both of Sherin’s parents are jailed on different charges. Wesley Mathews is charged with injury to a child, and Sini Mathews is charged with child endangerment.
A group made up of Richardson residents presented police with a plaque thanking them for their response and hard work in the complex and high-profile case.
Bill Allen presented the special plaque to the police department. He lives near where Sherin’s body was found. With his neighbors, they formed an informal group to express gratitude for all the investigators. They also dedicated a bench in Sherin’s memory this past weekend.
“We wanted to recognize our police department for their compassionate and thorough investigation of the case and also to continue the dialogue, both nationally and internationally, about child welfare,” Allen said.
“To have the community come together and come to us and acknowledge the good work that the men and women of this police department have done means so, so much to us,” said Richardson PD Chief Jimmy Spivey.
The recognition for the police department comes one day before a hearing in the ongoing custody battle over the Mathews' other child, their 4-year-old biological daughter. On Nov. 29, both Wesley and Sini pleaded the fifth amendment in court in response to pointed questions about their alleged involvement in Sherin's death to avoid self-incrimination.
Wesley told police Sherin choked while drinking milk. Child Protective Services is seeking to have the parental rights of both parents terminated, which would cease all contact between parent and child. It could ultimately mean Sherin's sibling would go up for adoption.
Family law attorney Remeko T. Edwards is not involved in the case. She says in cases like this, the parties involved could explore the option of keeping the child with a family member with one or both parents agreeing to voluntarily surrender their parental rights.
“When they voluntarily do that, they open the door that even after termination post contact can occur,” Edwards explained. “Ultimately, it will be the judge to make the determination of what will be in the best interest of the child.”
The next custody hearing for the couple’s biological daughter is set for Wednesday. A judge has already taken away their visitation rights and could terminate their parental rights.
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