Days after 3-year-old Sherin Mathews' autopsy report revealed that the Indian girl child adopted by Keralite parents in Texas had died of homicidal violence, the Indian government has suspended operations with US adoption agency Holt International.
CEO of Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) Deepak Kumar, the Indian nodal agency for adoption, told TNM that the decision to suspend operations with Holt International was taken on Friday, after "gross negligence" was found on their part.
"In all the four follow-up reports Holt International submitted to our country on Sherin, it said that Sherin was adjusting well with her adoptive parents. But it has now came to light that a state (US) health department official had in fact written to Child Protective Services (CPS) that Sherin had multiple fractures seven months ago. This was never there in the follow-up reports by Holt International. It is sheer gross negligence on their part or they might have very well hidden this information," Deepak Kumar said.
Sherin's adoptive parents Wesley Mathews and Sini Mathews are currently in jail on charges of causing felony injury to the child and abandoning/endangering the child respectively.
During a Child Protective Services (CPS) hearing in December regarding the custody of the Mathews' biological daughter, paediatrician and child abuse expert Susan Dakil of Referral and Evaluation of At Risk Children Clinic testified that the X-rays taken in September 2016 and February 2017, showed visible injuries on Sherin.
The doctor added that those injuries were inflicted upon Sherin after she was adopted and brought to the US. Sherin was adopted from Bihar in July 2016.
According to Deepak Kumar, Holt International acknowledged the communication from the Indian government on Saturday and stated that they were willing to cooperate with any investigation on the matter.
The suspension of operations with the US adoption agency will only be revoked if reports from the Indian Embassy in the US is favorable to the agency, Deepak Kumar added.
"The parents who have registered with Holt International and are in various stages of adoption procedure, will be transferred to other agencies," Deepak Kumar said.
Sherin, who was adopted from Bihar in July 2016 by the Mathews family, was reported missing on the morning of October 7. At the time of her disappearance, Wesley told police that he sent the 3-year-old out of home at 3 am as punishment for not drinking her milk. Subsequently, Sherin went missing, Wesley told police.
However, on October 22, Sherin's body was recovered from a culvert not far from her residence.