DALLAS COUNTY, Texas -- A CPS custody hearing wrapped up for the day in Dallas County Wednesday over the biological child of Wesley and Sini Mathews, the adoptive parents of Sherin Mathews, who was found dead in a Richardson culvert last month.
Wesley Mathews was expected to either surrender his parental rights for his 4-year-old daughter or have them terminated by the State.
Sini Mathews took the stand during the hearing as a witness, but invoked her 5th Amendment rights on most questions asked by the State in the 37 minutes she was on the stand.
The State asked several questions about the night Sherin disappeared, as well as questions about alleged broken bones the 3-year-old suffered last spring. Sini was asked by the State if Sherin had a broken femur, elbow, and tibia between January and March of this year. She was also asked by the State if Sherin suffered another set of fractures in February or March, and whether Sini told doctors that Sherin had a Vitamin D deficiency, leading to her broken bones.
Sini wouldn't answer those questions, and told the State that she plans to see her biological daughter in a supervised CPS visitation if and when she posts bond.
Just after 2 p.m., Wesley Mathews took the stand, also invoking his 5th Amendment rights. His attorney told him to look at him before answering any questions and then signed a hand signal of a "five" after several questions before the court recessed.
The State said no 911 call was ever made. Wesley had called the non-emergency line when he first tried to seek help for Sherin.
Following both Sini and Wesley taking the stand, three witnesses were called to testify.
The first witness, Dr. Susan Dakil, is a pediatrician also certified in child abuse pediatrics. Dr. Dakil told the State that Sherin was hospitalized in February of 2017 and also had an elbow fracture in September of 2016.
The explanation from Sini and Wesley for her September injury was that their oldest, biological daughter pushed Sherin off a couch, resulting in her elbow fracture.
Dr. Dakil also said in February Sherin Mathews was admitted for bilateral fractures. Sini said she slipped on a slide and they had grabbed her. Wesley was not in the room to give his explanation.
The pediatrician said Sherin was classified as a "failure to thrive" patient, which means she was below the third percentile of the growth curve for children of the same age. She says Sherin continued to lose weight.
A skeletal survey consisting of 23 X-rays was completed in February of 2017 which showed fractures in Sherin's tibia and femur, both in different stages of healing -- meaning there was more than one episode of violence and trauma. It was difficult for the pediatrician to say when they occurred.
A second skeletal survey in March was completed and it showed further healing of fractures, which would rule out the injuries happening in India prior to adoption -- like Sini had noted to Dr. Dakil.
When Dr. Dakil reported her findings to Sini, that Sherin's injuries were not related to her time in India or from slipping on a slide, Dr. Dakil said Sini responded with fewer questions than she had anticipated.
Dr. Dakil said she filed a CPS report and called the hotline. She tried to find other explanations for Sherin's injuries but could not.
The pediatrician testified that when she told Sini that she was going to alert CPS based on her findings of the condition of Sherin's body, Sini said she didn't approve and believed involving CPS would disrupt the family's weekend plans.
At about 4 p.m., the hearing concluded for the day leaving two more witnesses to take the stand. The judge says they will continue to hear from them when the hearing resumes Dec. 5 at 9 a.m.
Wesley Mathews and his wife Sini are accused of leaving their 3-year-old adoptive daughter, Sherin, home alone in October and going to eat with their biological daughter at an On the Border.
Sherin was reported missing by the family and her body was found in a culvert nearly a month later. An affidavit says her adoptive parents told police she was "still in the kitchen" when they got home.
Sini is charged with abandoning or endangering a child and Wesley is charged with injury to a child. He previously told police he forced Sherin to drink milk in the garage at 3 a.m., resulting in her choking and dying. He also admitted to removing her body from the home.
Then the changed his story and claimed he "grew impatient" over Sherin's refusal to drink milk and asked the family to go to dinner with him, leaving Sherin behind.
Sini turned herself into police on Nov. 16. Her bond was reduced to $100,000 in a hearing Monday morning, but she remains in jail.
The cause of death for Sherin is still under investigation.
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