DALLAS (WPIX) -- A jury in Dallas County sentenced the father of a 3-year-old girl whose body was found in a culvert to life in prison, the Dallas district attorney announced on Wednesday.
Sherin Mathews' body was found in October 2017, two weeks after her adoptive father, Wesley Mathews, 39, reported her missing.
On Monday, Mathews pleaded guilty to a charge of intentionally and knowingly causing serious bodily injury to a child. On Tuesday, he took the stand himself and spoke about the circumstances of her death, which had remained a mystery since her disappearance.
“Sherin's little body was so badly decomposed, due to the actions of this defendant, the medical examiner could not determine an official cause of death, which could have dramatically changed the way we were able to prosecute this case,” lead prosecutor Jason Fine told jurors.
In 2017, Mathews originally said Sherin disappeared in the middle of the night, after he disciplined her outside their home for not drinking her milk.
“Mathews then led Richardson Police on a wild goose chase knowing where the child's body was the entire time,” the Dallas District Attorney's Office said in a statement.
Mathews later told police that Sherin choked to death while drinking her milk. But ultimately, two weeks later, her body was found in a bag in a culvert near the family home.
“I detest myself,” Mathews said Tuesday. “I detest myself for being untruthful to police officers.”
Sherin was adopted from an orphanage in Nalanda, a city in India's eastern state of Bihar, in 2016. She had lived in the orphanage since she was an infant. At the time, she was named Saraswati.
Mathews testified that Sherin's doctors told him that his daughter needed milk to gain weight, and he was afraid that doctors would contact Child Protective Services if her health didn't improve.