DALLAS - The parents of 3-year-old Sherin Mathews went to court Monday to try to convince a judge it is safe for their 4-year-old biological daughter to return home. However, the judge delayed the hearing.
Wesley and Sini Mathews arrived for the custody hearing separately and reportedly did not speak to each other. They also didn’t answer any questions from reporters about the possible discovery of Sherin’s body in a culvert over the weekend.
The body has not yet been identified by the medical examiner, but it is believed to be Sherin. The culvert is about half a mile from the family's home, directly down the railroad tracks from where her father said he left her for punishment at 3 a.m. on Oct. 7, because she wouldn't drink her milk.
Wesley Mathews was charged with child endangerment and remains free on bond, but does have to wear an ankle monitor. He's currently living in a hotel because a condition of his bond is that he cannot live with his wife.
The judge Monday ordered an extension until Nov. 13 in the case for custody of the couple’s biological 4-year-old daughter because Wesley Mathews does not yet have a civil attorney.
"He does not yet, he's working on retaining one," said Wesley's criminal defense attorney, Rafael De La Garza.
The little girl was removed from the home and placed in foster care shortly after her adoptive sister was reported missing. She will remain there at least until the rescheduled court date.
Marissa Gonzalez, a spokeswoman for Child Protective Services, said Sini Mathews is allowed to visit her daughter once a week and had done so twice already. Wesley Mathews is not allowed to see her as a condition of his bond agreement.
Gonzalez said the little girl does have family members in Fort Bend County who are willing to care for her. CPS will do a home study and make a recommendation to the judge at the next hearing.
“Our preference is to always have the child with family members. So if there are family members who might be appropriate to care for the child, we’ll do a home study on them and get them approved through the court so the child can stay there temporarily,”
CPS said it has had previous contact with the family but would not elaborate, citing privacy concerns.
Also after the hearing, Sini Mathews’ attorney said she is now cooperating with police to helping them identify the body. When asked how she is doing, her attorney said one word – "distraught."
Attorney Bree West, who is not involved in the case, said it's unlikely wife Sini will get custody of the four-year-old until police finish the investigation into Sherin's death.