When 3-year-old Sherin Mathews refused to drink her milk, her father told police that he ordered her to stand outside alone next to a tree behind a fence by their Dallas home at 3 o’clock in the morning October 7, 2017.
Wesley Mathews, 37, then said he went back inside the house. When he checked on his daughter 15 minutes, she was gone.
According to NBC 5, the tree is 100 feet away from the home.
Mathews didn’t notify police of his daughter’s disappearance until five hours later. He was arrested the same day Sherin went missing on charges of abandoning or endangering a child and posted bail the next day.
That delay is very concerning to police officers.
"That does not seem like a normal response that one would do if you have a missing child,” said Sgt. Kevin Perlich.
Her father told police that he had seen coyotes in the alley directly across from their home, but investigators haven’t found any evidence that one might have dragged the girl away.
According to Perlich, Mathews said it’s not unusual to feed the toddler in the middle of the night because when he and his wife adopted her she was malnourished.
He said he often woke her up to eat so that her weight would increase.
Mathews adopted Sherin two years ago from an orphanage in India.
Police are still looking for answers as to exactly what happened to Sherin. They’ve seized three cars, cell phones and laptops from the family. Authorities are also reviewing footage from nearby surveillance cameras.
As a result of the girl's disappearance, Child Protective Services also removed a 4-year-old child from Mathews home, and a spokeswoman said the agency they’ve dealt with the family before but didn’t go into specifics.
"We don't have any other indication or evidence that she was forcibly abducted from that area," Perlich said.
Sherin, who has a developmental disability and limited verbal communication skills, was last seen wearing leggings, a pink long-sleeved shirt, and pink flip-flops.
As of Wednesday October 11th, police say the Mathews family is no longer cooperating with them. The girl's adopted father is the only known suspect at this time.
Anyone with information about Sherin Mathews or her location is asked to contact the Richardson Police Department at 972-744-4800.
Emily Blackwood is an editor at YourTango who covers pop culture, true crime, dating, relationships and everything in between. Every Wednesday at 10:20 p.m. you can ask her any and all questions about self-love, dating, and relationships LIVE on YourTango’s Facebook page. You can follow her on Instagram (@blackw00d) and Twitter (@emztweetz).