The autopsy of 3-year-old Sherin Mathews revealed that she died of “homicidal violence.”
Law enforcement officials confirmed the Texas girl’s cause of death to WFAA on Wednesday morning.
The girl was reported missing on Oct. 3 by her adoptive parents, Wesley and Sini Mathews. After police discovered the girl’s body on Oct. 22, both parents were arrested.
Wesley Mathews was charged with first-degree felony injury to a child and Sini Mathews was charged with child endangerment or abandonment relating to the death.
“There is nothing in the autopsy results that indicate Sini Mathews had anything to do with the death of Sherin Mathews,” attorney Mitch Nolte told WFAA in a statement on Tuesday.
A specific cause of death could not be determined due to the degree of decomposition, the official told WFAA.
Both parents are due in court on Wednesday for a custody hearing for their biological 4-year-old daughter.
At the civil court hearing, the couple can either decide to give up custody of their biological child or have the court set a date for a civil trial which could possibly terminate their custody rights.
The arrests warrant for Wesley Mathews revealed that he was trying to get Sherin to drink milk in the garage. When she repeatedly refused, the father tried to force her.
“She was coughing and her breathing slowed,” the warrant read. “Eventually, Wesley Mathews no longer felt a pulse on the child and believed she had died.”
Wesley Mathews then moved the body out of the home, believing that the girl had died. That account was different from what the father initially told the police.
The couple left the girl alone at home on the night before her disappearance, according to an arrest warrant.
Wesley Mathews told police that he sent Sherin outside at 3 a.m. as punishment for not drinking her milk. The adopted father went on to say that when he returned to check on the girl, she was gone and that he feared that a coyote had gotten her.
Wesley Mathews allegedly did the laundry for the five hours before he called the police.