The Texas dad police accused of leaving his 3-year-old daughter outside in the middle of the night as punishment for not drinking her milk was charged with a first-degree felony on Monday, the day after authorities found a child’s body near the family’s home.
Wesley Mathews, 37, voluntarily met with Richardson police detectives on Monday to discuss the case, but his account of what happened the night he punished his daughter over the milk was “contrary to what we were initially told,” Sgt. Kevin Perlich told CBS11. Police didn’t elaborate.
Mathews was charged with injury to a child, a first-degree felony punishable by up to life in prison, according to police. Bail was set at $1 million.
On Sunday morning, police said they found the body of a child in a culvert near the Mathews’ home. Perlich told HuffPost the body is “most likely” Sherin’s. The medical examiner will determine identification and a cause of death.
Mathews was charged with abandoning or endangering a child on Oct. 7 after his adopted daughter, Sherin Mathews, who police said had development issues and limited verbal communication skills, went missing.
He told police at the time that he’d ordered the 3-year-old to stand near a tree near an alley outside their house at 3 a.m. as punishment for refusing to drink her milk. He also told police that coyotes had previously been spotted lurking around the alley.
Mathews said he went outside to check on the toddler about 15 minutes later, but found her missing. He waited five hours before calling the police, according to authorities.
Matthews’ wife, Sini Mathews, Sherin’s adoptive mother, was cooperating with police to identify the body, her attorney told Dallas Morning News. The mother, who said she was asleep when Sherin went missing, has not been charged with a crime.
Authorities placed the couple’s 4-year-old biological daughter in foster care as the investigation continues. A judge postponed a custody hearing for the child on Monday and said she would remain in foster care for three more weeks, reported the Morning News.
In a tweet last week, Sushma Swaraj, India’s minister of external affairs, said she was “deeply concerned about the missing child.”