Mathews custody hearing details three-year-old's physical injuries

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Prosecutors on Wednesday described a pattern of physical injuries and broken bones involving the 3-year-old adopted Richardson girl who was found dead last month in a culvert.

The information came as part of a custody hearing involving the Wesley and Sini Mathews’ other child, their biological 4-year-old daughter. The hearing adjourned with no decision after three hours of testimony and is set to resume next week.

The state spent Wednesday trying to convince a judge that Sini and Wesley are not fit to be parents due to what happened to Sherin and shouldn’t be able to regain custody of their biological daughter. The 4-year-old is currently staying with relatives outside Houston.

The state called both parents to the stand to testify in what's called an aggravated circumstances case. They were handcuffed and wearing the same clothes they were arrested in.

Assistant District Attorney Denise Hale asked both Sini and then Wesley a series of questions about Sherin, her health throughout this year and the circumstances surrounding her death.

Sini acknowledged that CPS had been involved with the family in the past regarding Sherin's visit to the hospital for multiple bone fractures. But then, just like her husband did, Sini repeatedly invoked her fifth amendment right against self-incrimination.

PROSECUTOR: After that first broken bone, you returned to a doctor or a hospital, and Sherin had additional broken bones.

SINI: I plead my Fifth.

PROSECUTOR: You asserted that she had a Vitamin D deficiency and an Iron deficiency, is that right?

SINI: I plead my Fifth.

PROSECUTOR: Did any doctor diagnose her with a vitamin D deficiency or an Iron deficiency?

SINI: I plead my Fifth.

A pediatrician, who specializes in child abuse cases, testified that blood work determined Sherin did not suffer from any kind of bone deficiency. The doctor is also the one who alerted CPS after images showed Sherin had suffered multiple fractures over several months and had not been injured while playing, as Sini reportedly told her.

Police arrested Sini on charges of child endangerment after the death of 3-year-old Sherin. Investigators determined she left Sherin home alone while she, her husband and their older daughter went out for dinner. The next day, Wesley Mathews reported Sherin was missing. Her body was later found in a culvert near the family’s home.

Wesley is facing more serious charges of injury to a child. Police said he told them his daughter died choking on milk that he forced her to drink. He admitted to moving her body. He reportedly turned off the location tracking on his phone when he's believed to have taken Sherin's body to the culvert.

After the hearing, attorneys for both parents spoke to the media.

“We've tried to tell her to keep kind of a game face. She can’t win either way,” said Mitch Nolte, Sini’s attorney. “If she acts stoic, then she’s a cold woman. If she’s crying hysterically, then she’s guilty.”

“The Wesley Mathews I have come to know it a good father and a loving man and loves his family,” said his attorney David Kleckner.

The results of Sherin’s autopsy have not been released yet.

Earlier this week a judge agreed to reduce Sini’s bond from $250,000 to $100,000. She could post bond and be released from jail on Wednesday. If that happens she will be placed under house arrest with an ankle monitor.

Court will resume next Tuesday.