The father of a missing 3-year-old girl in Texas has been re-arrested and charged again after a body that police said is “most likely” the toddler was found earlier this week.
Wesley Mathews reportedly provided “an alternate statement of events” to police after the body of a toddler was found Sunday morning, Richardson police said. He has since been charged with injury to a child, a first-degree felony, and is being held on $1 million bond.
Mathews initially told police that Sherin Mathews disappeared after he put her in an alleyway near their house at 3 a.m. on Oct. 7 for not drinking her milk. He said he’d returned to check on her and she was gone.
On Monday night, Mathews “voluntarily arrived at the Richardson Police Station with his attorney and asked to speak with detectives. He provided an alternate statement of events from those which he had given previously, regarding the disappearance of Sherin,” The Washington Post reported.
Mathews told authorities that Sherin had choked on milk and he “believed she had died," an arrest warrant obtained by WFAA said.
He also alleged that he had been trying to get her to drink her milk in the garage and that he "physically assisted" Sherin in drinking it when she wouldn't listen to him, the station reported.
"She was coughing and her breathing slowed," the warrant reads. "Eventually, Wesley Mathews no longer felt a pulse on the child and believed she had died."
Mathews then allegedly admitted to police that he removed the body from the home, the warrant states.
During their investigation, police found that someone had driven the family’s SUV away from the home and returned an hour later on the morning Sherin disappeared.
The family did not contact police until five hours after the 3-year-old vanished, authorities said. In that time, he reportedly did a load of laundry, the paper reported. Sherin’s mother was asleep during the incident, reports said.
Search dogs found what is believed to be the child’s body Sunday in a culvert beneath a road, less than a mile from the Mathews’ home.
Police have reportedly said they have no reason to believe the body they found is that of another child, but are awaiting a positive identification and autopsy.
“Worst news finding child’s body,” Richardson Police Chief Jimmy Spivey tweeted Sunday.
The chief vowed to bring whoever is responsible “to justice” in the tweet.
Police had initially charged Mathews with child endangerment and he was released on bond, reports said.
Rafael De La Garza, the father’s attorney, said the father is “mourning the death of his child,” the Dallas Morning News reported.
Sherin was reportedly adopted from India two years ago. After her disappearance, the couple’s 4-year-old child was placed in foster care, according to reports. A custody hearing for the 4-year-old, the couple's biological child, is scheduled for November.