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Sherin's parents denied access to their biological daughter
The foster parents of Sherin Mathews, the 3-year-old Indian girl who was found dead under suspicious circumstances in a culvert in Dallas, have been denied access to their biological daughter.
Sherin, reported missing on October 7, was found dead in the culvert about 1 km from her home in suburban Dallas on October 22 by a cadaver dog during a massive search for the missing toddler.
She was adopted by the Indian-American couple, Wesley and Sini Mathews, from an orphanage in India last year. Her adoptive parents had lost custody of their 3-year-old biological child after Sherin went missing. Yesterday, a judge denied Wesley and Sini access to their biological daughter. The ruling resulted due to an expert testimony indicating that Sherin may have suffered abuse at the hands of her parents prior to her death.
The next hearing would be a trial that could serve to strip the Mathews' parental rights. A date has not yet been set. Wesley, 37 and Sini, 35, who were attempting to keep the visitation rights for their daughter, will now have to wait until a former civil trial takes place.
The state convinced the judge that Sini and Wesley were not fit to be parents due to what happened to Sherin and shouldn't be able to visit their biological daughter. Their biological daughter is currently staying with relatives.
Child Protective Services (CPS) does not have to provide services to Wesley and Sini that would help them reunite with their biological daughter, the judge ruled.
The couple has not lost parental rights, but they will not receive help from the state to regain custody of their daughter, the judge said.
A hearing to determine a permanent cutoff of parental rights will likely take place in 2018.
Police arrested Sini on charges of child endangerment after the death of Sherin. According to investigators, Sini left Sherin home alone while she, her husband and their biological daughter went out for dinner. The next day, Wesley reported Sherin was missing. Her body was later found in a culvert near the family's home.
Wesley is facing more serious charges of inflicting injury to a child.
On October 7, Wesley called police and reported Sherin missing. He had initially told police that Sherin disappeared overnight after he ordered her to stand outside at about 3 am for not drinking her milk. When he returned, Wesley said she had disappeared and that her location was unknown.
Wesley Mathews later changed his tune, saying Sherin choked to death after he “physically assisted” her as she drank her milk.
Both Sini and Wesley who remain in detention in Dallas County jail attended yesterday's hearing.
Last week, during the first day of the custodial hearing, Dr Suzanne Dakil testified she was worried Sherin had been injured by her parents and reported her concerns to CPS.
Dakil yesterday told the court that she did see the couple's biological daughter on one occasion, during a physical examination before she entered foster care, and did not see any sign of neglect or abuse.
The second person to testify was CPS investigator Kelly Mitchell, who told the judge Sini Mathews remained “eerily calm” and was “unemotional” when CPS showed up on October 9 to remove her biological daughter from the home.
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