The adoptive mother of 3-year-old Sherin Mathews stood and heard the charges against her and was read her rights during Friday morning's arraignment hearing in Richardson -- her face void of expression.
Several hours later, Sini was escorted to the Dallas County jail at 4:30 p.m. She said nothing as she passed a group of reporters who were shouting questions at her.
Accused of child abandoning or endangering a child, she and her husband, Wesley Mathews, left Sherin alone the night before she went missing, police said. The girl's body was located in a culvert underground during a search operation in an area near the family's home in Richardson.
Her arrest and stay at the jail add a major wrinkle to the custody case of their biological child. CPS tells WFAA the four-year-old is now with a foster family and not a relative or a friend. Two CPS hearings have already been continued and the next hearing is scheduled for Nov. 29.
Many people have been asking, what now? How does the CPS case proceed? And how does it proceed now with the criminal case also happening?
WFAA met with Pete Schulte, an attorney not connected to this case, who offered up his legal expertise. He said both cases will take separate paths. "At some point, they will come to a head and relate to each other, but not focused on each other," said Schulte.
CPS said there may be hurdles now getting both parents to each CPS hearing. That could cause some delays. Schulte said the judge can order the sheriff to have both Wesley and Sini present for those hearings.
CPS said it is up to the judge to decide what is in the child's best interest. A spokesperson said having the four-year-old go to grandparents or other relatives are always placement options.
"Even CPS will say that placing the child that can't go back to the biological parents can put it with a family member, that is always preferred," said Schulte.
That child will remain with the foster family until this is all ironed out. Schulte says from the time the child is taken from the parent's custody, the courts have one year to find a more permanent placement for the child.
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