DALLAS (AP) - A suburban Dallas couple facing charges after the death of their adopted 3-year-old daughter may have no contact with their biological daughter, a judge ruled Tuesday.
State District Judge Cheryl Lee Shannon issued the ruling Tuesday after two days of testimony in the custody case involving Wesley and Sini Mathews of Richardson, Texas.
Wesley Mathews is charged with first-degree felony injury to a child in the death of Sherin Mathews, who was adopted from India. His wife is charged with child endangerment or abandonment relating to the death.
Investigators previously said Wesley Mathews had said Sherin died after choking while he was forcing her to drink her milk.
On Tuesday, Richardson police Detective Jules Farmer testified that Wesley Mathews told officers that he was force-feeding Sherin, who was underweight, with milk from a bottle in the pre-dawn hours of Oct. 7 when she choked. Mathews said he held his daughter as she died, then placed her body in the back of his car with a bag of garbage, drove to a shopping center where he disposed of the garbage, then to a culvert where he hid her body. Her body was found there two weeks later.
Farmer said Wesley Mathews had turned off a geo-locating setting on his cellphone that morning. He said Mathews appeared shocked when asked about that, and he said he noticed a dark stain on the shorts Mathews was wearing.
Sini Mathews told police that she awoke about 5 a.m. Oct. 7 to find Sherin missing and Wesley sitting at the kitchen table with a strange look on his face, Farmer said. When asked if she knew if her husband had done something with their daughter, she said she was unsure, and she asked police if she would still be able to attend a baby shower later that day, Farmer said.
Stained clothes thought to be Sherin's were found in the trash inside the couple's home and are being tested, Farmer said.
Last week, a doctor with a clinic that treats at-risk children testified that Sherin had several bone fractures when she examined her last March. Dr. Suzanne Dakil said she notified Child Protective Services.
Also Tuesday, CPS investigator Kelly Mitchell testified that Sini Mathews was "eerily calm" when her biological child was removed from her custody and showed no anger toward her husband when he returned from jail.
Wesley Mathews remains in the Dallas County jail with bond set at $1 million and faces up to life imprisonment if convicted of the first-degree felony. Sini Mathews remains in the Dallas County jail with bond set at $250,000 and faces up to two years in a state jail if convicted of child abandonment or endangerment for leaving Sherin alone at home Oct. 6.
Results are still pending of Sherin's autopsy.
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