Five days after Sherin Mathews, the 3-year-old Indian girl living in Texas went missing in the wee hours of Saturday, the Richardson Police Department is yet to trace the child.
Sherin, a child with special needs, was sent out of her home by her father Wesley Mathews at 3 am, as punishment for reportedly not drinking her milk. Wesley and his wife Sini Mathews are natives of Kerala and had adopted Sherin from an orphanage in India in July last year.
They also have a 4-year-old biological child, who was removed by the Child Protective Services (CPS) on Monday.
Although Wesley was arrested by the police and booked for abandoning the child, he was later let off on bond.
The Mathews family had not given out a statement to the media till Wednesday. However on Wednesday, Sherin's mother Sini sent out her statement through her attorney Kent Starr, who said that Sini was "distraught" by what happened.
Speaking to media persons outside the Mathews' residence after a prolonged meeting with the family, attorney Starr said:
"She is distraught over the loss of her daughter. She does not know Sherin's whereabouts. She wants her daughter to be returned."
Explaining why Sini, despite having no charges against her, chose to retain an attorney, Starr said that every individual has the right for legal counsel.
Reiterating that Sini has cooperated with the Richardson Police for the investigation, attorney Starr said: "Her biological child was removed from the house. That's why Sini is retaining a lawyer. All she wants is to have her biological daughter and Sherin back."
Asked why Sini was not directly speaking to the media, attorney Starr said that the family has requested privacy.
"She is in mourning, some individuals mourn differently, it is not indicative of anything. She is distraught," he said.
Asked whether Sini stands by her husband Wesley's version of the events, the attorney said:
"She did cooperate with the police and the fact that there may be conversations that occurred between Wesley and a third party...she is not aware of those. She is hopeful that the daughter will be returned."
Why was the child sent out at 3 am?
According to Wesley's version to the police, he had sent Sherin out of their home and asked her to stand near a tree a little away from their home. He told the police that he had asked her to do so as a means of punishment for not drinking milk and that Sherin had disappeared when he returned 15 minutes later.
Wesley told the police that Sherin was malnourished and that she was regularly fed even at odd hours. Sini's attorney Starr confirmed this during his interaction with the media on Wednesday.
Saying that the family loves Sherin, he said the the child had a medical condition, which the parents were trying to get the deal with.
According to the American media, Wesley went back home and did laundry even after he realised that Sherin had disappeared. The police and the Evidence Recovery Team of the FBI had conducted a search warrant at the house and seized some materials.
Shanna Poteet, an activist for missing persons, runaway and sex-trafficked children who helped lead a search operation by volunteers told TNM that although several people have raised their suspicion on Wesley's version of the story, his family and friends believe that he could not have done any wrong.
"They are sympathetic for him because they can’t believe he did anything to her," Shanna said.
According to her, Wesley works in the IT and the family has taken off their social media profiles after Sherin went missing.