Authorities in Texas announced at a press conference, which you can watch above, that they believe they located the body of missing 3-year-old Sherin Mathews, who disappeared October 7 following a punishment by her adoptive father in Richardson, Texas.
The body was found in a culvert underneath a road at about 11 a.m. on Sunday.
“A police spokesman told reporters that investigators have no reason to believe that the body belongs to another missing child,” The Washington Post reported.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Sherin Went Missing October 7 After Her Father Sent Her Outside ‘Where Coyotes Roam’ as Punishment for Not Drinking Her Milk
Sherin went missing on October 7 after authorities said her father, 37-year-old Wesley Mathews, punished the child for failing to drink her milk. Authorities say the man admitted to ordering the girl to stand next to a tree behind a fence of the family’s home, which was reportedly about 100 yards away.
Police said Wesley admitted to placing the girl “where coyotes were known to roam,” at about 3 a.m., ABC 13 reported.
After 15 minutes, authorities said the father told them he went to check on the girl but could not find her, and proceeded to do a load of laundry after claiming that he wasn’t too worried about the situation, according to an affidavit obtained by The Washington Post.
He then waited about five hours to contact police, NBC Dallas Fort Worth reported.
The community came together only hours after the body was found and hundreds of people gathered for a vigil in Sherin’s honor.
“A lot of people are in shock and anger and frustrated,” vigil organizer Omair Siddiqi told WFAA.
2. Police Believe a Body Found In an Underground Culvert Is That of Sherin
Authorities announced Sunday that “the body of a small child was discovered” about a mile away from Sherin’s home after an extensive search which included K-9 units.
The Richardson Police Department posted to Facebook:
Since the time Sherin Mathews was reported missing on Saturday morning, October 7th, the Richardson Police Department and other law enforcement entities have been working 24/7 to locate her. Today, 10/22/17, at approximately 11:00am, during one of those search operations, the body of a small child was discovered in the area of E. Spring Valley Rd. and S. Bowser Rd. The area has been blocked off as a crime scene. We are awaiting the FBI Evidence Recovery Team to respond. The adjacent neighborhoods can expect to experience some disruptions during this time. #sherinmathews
Don Thomas posted the following photo to the Facebook page “Where is Sherin Mathews?,” and stated the body was found where the picture was taken:
In addition, Thomas posted the photo below and stated: “This is the opposite side of the culvert where they pulled the girl out from one side to the other it is about 100 feet and you can easily see through it to the other side, it goes under Spring Valley Road, I searched it day 2 when she went missing and I’m sure many people search that same culvert.”
Mercedes Peterson posted live video from the area of the search and said that a woman told police that she had also searched the culvert prior to today’s discovery:
3. Sherin’s Father Was Arrested the Same Day as Her Disappearance on Child Abandonment & Endangerment Charges but Then Released
The young girl’s father was arrested on child abandonment and endangerment charges on the same day as Sherin’s disappearance but was later released on bail. According to CBS 11, Wesley and his wife have stopped cooperating with authorities.
The father posted $250,000 bond and was ordered to surrender his passport as well as wear an ankle monitor as conditions of the bail.
At the time of publishing, Wesley had not been charged with any additional crimes and the girl’s mother wasn’t charged with anything in connection with the case.
The couple has another child that was taken from the home, according to CBS 11. The station reported “a 4-year-old girl was removed from the Mathews’ home by Child Protective Services after Sherin went missing two weeks ago,” and said they are expected to fight to get that child back via court on Monday.
4. Sherin Is Originally From India & Was Adopted by the Mathews’
Sgt. Kevin Perlich, a spokesman for the Richardson Police Department, said that Wesley and his wife, Sini, “adopted Sherin about two years ago from an orphanage in India,” The Washington Post reported.
The newspaper reported that Perlich said Sherin’s father claimed “that Sherin was malnourished and had to be on a special diet to gain weight.” Perlich stated that the girl “had to be fed whenever she was awake,” and added that the father claimed she “wasn’t cooperating” the night she was punished and subsequently went missing.
“So that was the frustration [Mathews] was experiencing that night,” Perlich stated, according to The Post. “But, of course, we’re working to verify all of that.”
5. Her Story Is Going Viral & Has Many Outraged at the Circumstances Involved
The circumstances involving Sherin’s disappearance has outraged the pubic, and many are taking to social media to express their anguish.
Amy Lawyer posted to Facebook:
Rest in peace Sherin. You are a forever Angel. Dumped in bushes as an infant by the side of a road in India. Adopted to what was supposed to be a loving home. Only to be allegedly abused and put outside for not drinking your milk in the middle of the night. There are many that will seek the justice you deserve. Whatever happened I believe there is a special place in HELL for the parents, or people, who failed you.Download Video Links
“EVERYONE FAILED THIS baby girl,” Rhonda Davis replied. “Who knows what they did to her before she was murdered. I’m so glad criminals are dumb.”
“Rest in peace baby girl,” @tsharda01 tweeted. “I’m sorry your ‘parents’ failed you. I hope the justice system doesn’t. #SherinMathews”
“Is there anyone who believes Sherin Mathews wasn’t murdered by one or both of her parents?,” @heytherestephie wrote.
A Facebook page dedicated to the darling girl shared the following tragic update on Sunday:
Today hearts are heavy all over the world. We have learned that the body of Sherin Mathews has most likely been found not far from her home this morning, according to the Richardson Police Department. The body has been sent to the medical examiner’s office to confirm.
At this time I respectfully request that no one drive to the crime scene as instructed by law enforcement, including myself. The FBI and crime scene unit have set up labs and need time to thoroughly investigate the area.
I understand that there is another vigil tonight at 6:00pm, but I would like to do something in honor of Sherin on my own. The Where Is Sherin Mathews page will host their own vigil for baby Sherin. I humbly request that media not attend this event, and I will host it at a different venue. I will need some time to prep for this and wait until the medical examiner’s office confirms the body.
This page will stay up in memory of Sherin and we will continue to follow this story until justice is brought forth to whomever is responsible for what happened to this innocent precious angel.
Thank you all for you support and love for Sherin, we are all family.Download Video Links