Murder charge on Sherin father
Houston: The Indian-American foster father of Sherin Mathews, a 3-year-old Indian girl whose body was found in a culvert near their suburban Dallas home last October, was on Saturday indicted for capital murder by a grand jury.
The murder charge, which could carry the death penalty, was filed against Wesley Mathews, 37, after an autopsy of the body of the toddler adopted from an orphanage in Bihar showed that she died of "homicidal violence".
Sherin's foster mother, 35-year-old Sini Mathews, was indicted on a charge of abandoning a child. The punishment for that ranges from two to 20 years in prison with a fine up to $10,000.
Authorities have not said what happened to Sherin, and court documents only allege that Wesley caused his daughter's death using a deadly weapon "by a manner and means unknown to the grand jury".
"We can't go into details, but based on the autopsy report, we were able to determine that we can seek capital murder for this case," Dallas county district attorney Faith Johnson said at a news conference announcing the indictment.
Dallas county court records show Sherin's adoptive father also faces charges of abandoning the child and tampering with evidence.
The fate of the couple's 4-year-old biological daughter is still being decided with another Child Protective Services hearing scheduled for the end of this month. They can either forfeit their parental rights or the court will decide to schedule a civil trial to possibly terminate their rights.
India's consul-general in Houston, Anupam Ray, said: "Wesley and Sini will face trial. The prosecutors have and will pursue this case zealously so that justice is done. India has not forgotten this little child. May she rest in peace."