The adoptive parents of Sherin Mathews, the three-year-old Indian girl who was found dead in a culvert in Dallas, Texas, gave up custody and parental rights to their biological daughter on Saturday.
According to a report in the Indian Express, Wesley and Sini Mathews voluntarily agreed to give up their parental rights in a custody hearing.
Attorney Mitch Nolte who represents Sini Mathews said that, â€śSini made the extremely difficult decision to give up her parental rights because, given the circumstances and the pending criminal cases, this is in the best interests of the child. She wants whatâ€™s best for her remaining daughterâ€ť, the report said.
A Dallas judge had blocked the couple earlier from keeping contact with their 4-year-old surviving child after prosecutors argued that they failed to protect Sherin, added the report.
Earlier this month, Wesley Mathew was indicted for capital murder by a grand jury. His wife Sini Mathews was also indicted on the charge of abandoning a child. Wesley also faces charges of abandoning a child and tampering with evidence.
Sini and Wesley, natives of Kerala, had adopted Sherin from an orphanage in Bihar in July 2016.
Sherin Mathews disappeared on October 7 and her father first claimed that he had sent her out in the wee hours of the morning as punishment for not drinking her milk.
Days later, Sherin's body was recovered from a culvert under a road, around one kilometre from her home in suburban Dallas on October 22.
Wesley then changed his statement and said Sherin had choked on her milk and had stopped breathing. Thinking that she was dead, he removed her body from their home.
Sherin was a child with developmental issues and the American adoption agency submitted four follow-up reports to Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA). These reports observed that although Sherin was "safe and comfortable" at her new home, the parents found it difficult to feed the child.
The couple have a four-year-old biological daughter who was taken away by Child Protective Services (CPS), soon after Sherin's disappearance. Since then, Sini Mathews has been fighting to get custody of her biological child.