The father ofÂ a missing 3-year-oldÂ has been arrested and charged MondayÂ afterÂ changing his story about her disappearance, Texas police said.
Wesley Mathews provided âan alternate statement of eventsâ about his adopted daughterÂ Sherin toÂ detectivesÂ hours after the body of a small child was found, RichardsonÂ police said.Â MathewsÂ had previously claimed sheÂ went missing after he sent her alone into an alley when she wouldnât drink her milk. Authorities did not provide additional details.
HeÂ has been charged withÂ Injury to a Child,Â a first degree felony punishable by life or from five to 99 years in prison.
Earlier Monday, police said theyÂ had âmost likelyâ found the body of Sherin Mathews.
Officers and search dogs on Sunday morning discovered a small childâs body in a culvert near Spring Valley and Bowser roads, less than a mile from the Mathewsâ home in a suburb north of Dallas. Sherin disappeared Oct. 7.
A police spokesman told reporters that investigators have no reason to believe that the body belongs to another missing child. They are awaiting positive identification and for an autopsy to determine what killed the child. Investigators have notified Sherinâs parents.
âWorst news finding childâs body,âÂ Richardson Police Chief Jimmy Spivey tweeted. But if the recovered body is Sherinâs, Spivey tweeted, heâs âhappy [it has been] recovered so properly laid to rest.â
He also vowed to bring those responsible âto justice.â
MathewsÂ had previously been arrested on child abandonment andÂ endangerment charges the same day that Sherin went missing but was released on bail.
As part of his bail condition, Mathews was required to surrender his passport and wear an electronic monitoring bracelet so authorities could track him at all times, according to the Dallas Morning News.
On Monday, Mathews and his wife, Sini, had attended a court hearing to determine whether they could regain custody of their biological daughter.Â The four-year-oldÂ hadÂ been taken into custody by child protective services and placed in foster care after Sherin was reported missing. The judge postponed the hearing until Nov. 13 to give Mathews time to hire a civil attorney, a spokeswoman for CPS told the AP.
âWe do have the names of some relatives who have expressed interest in taking care of her,â said the spokeswoman, Marissa Gonzales. âWe can begin looking into those relatives, but it is entirely up to the judge where she is placed.â
Sherinâs disappearance has transfixed the Dallas area. Her fatherÂ previously told investigators that he looked outside 15 minutes after he sent Sherin into the alley but she was gone, according to police affidavits.
Not yet too worried,Â the father said, he then did a load of laundry, according to the affidavit. He waited until after sunriseÂ before he reportedÂ the disappearance toÂ police.
DetectivesÂ and FBI agents searchedÂ Mathewsâs house midweekÂ and subsequentlyÂ announcedÂ thatÂ someoneÂ left inÂ the familyâs SUV about 4 a.m. the day she disappeared and returned home within the hour.
Police saidÂ Sherinâs motherÂ was asleep during the incident and has not been charged, but the station reported she also has stopped cooperating.
Meanwhile, police scoured Richardson, a suburb of 100,000 about 15 miles north of Dallas. They brought in search dogs, flew over Sherinâs neighborhood in helicopters and canvassed door to door for the 22-pound girl last seen wearing a pink top, black pajama bottoms and pink flip flops.
Mathews and his wife adopted Sherin about two years ago from an orphanage in India, said Sgt. Kevin Perlich, a spokesman for the Richardson Police Department. Mathews told police Sherin was malnourished and had to be on a special diet to gain weight. She had to be fed whenever she was awake, Perlich said, and wasnât cooperating when her father tried to feed her.
âSo that was the frustration [Mathews] was experiencing that night,â Perlich said. âBut, of course, weâre working to verify all of that.â
This post, originally published on Oct. 22, has been updated.