Dallas, Texas: The father of the three-year-old Indian girl found dead in a culvert in Texas, has been charged with capital murder by a grand jury, the Dallas District Attorney said in a statement on Friday.
Wesley Mathews, who was arrested in October last year after he changed his story about her disappearance, was initially charged with injury to a child will now also face a murder charge after the autopsy of his adopted daughter Sherin revealed she died from “homicidal violence”.
Speaking to the press, Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson said Wesley Mathews faces a charge of capital murder, which is a felony punishable by either life imprisonment or the death sentence. However, the statement said that the District Attorney’s office was yet to decide on whether they will seek the death sentence or not. Anupam Ray, the Consul General of India, was present at the press conference.
“We can’t go into details, but based on that autopsy report, we were able to determine that we can seek capital murder for this case,” she said.
Wesley Mathews is also facing charges of abandoning a child and evidence tampering.
Sherin Mathews’ body was found in a culvert near her home in Dallas, Texas
Sherin Mathews was reported missing by her father in October last year, who had at the time said
he left her outside their house as punishment for not drinking her milk. Wesley Mathews later changed his statement to say that she died after choking while he was forcing her to drink milk, following which he was arrested.
His change of statement came after a massive search for the three-year-old ended with the police finding her body at a culvert near their home in Dallas, Texas.
Sini Mathews, Sherin’s mother, was also indicted with a charge of child abandonment against her. If convicted, she could get a prison sentence of 2-20 years, DA Johnson said. A statement from Sini Mathews’ lawyers said that the indictments indicated that she had nothing to do with Sherin’s death.
With inputs from agencies