Police in Texas have found the body of a small child during the search for a missing three-year-old who was forced to stand outside alone at night as punishment for not drinking her milk.
Since being reported missing on Oct. 7, Richardson police have been searching for Sherin Mathews, who disappeared after her father ordered the child to stand next to a tree behind a fence at their home at around 3 a.m.
Police said authorities have been “working 24/7” to locate the child. On Sunday, police located a body.
“Today, at approximately 11 a.m. during one of those search operations the body of a small child was discovered,” Sgt. Kevin Perlich said during a press conference. “At this time…a positive identification has not yet been made.”
Perlich went on to add the authorities have no reason to believe the body is not in fact that of Mathews.
“The indications are that it is most likely her, however, we have not had a positive ID. So until we have a positive identification we are not going to say it is Sherin,” Perlich said.
The child’s father, Wesley Mathews, 37, was arrested for suspected child endangerment for the treatment of his daughter and was later released on bond. According to an arrest affidavit, the father told police he went to check on her about 15 minutes after he ordered her outside, only to find her gone.
The father said he had seen coyotes in the alley near where he told his daughter to stand, the affidavit said.
Perlich said the child’s body was discovered in a culvert under a roadway, an area NBC News reported to be about just over a kilometre away from the family’s home.
“As the investigation continued to unfold, more and more stuff came to surface and we followed up on that,” Perlich said. “It led to the search of that area with canines, and that’s how we came across the body.”
No details have been released on how the child died and no further arrests have been made.
-with a file from the Associated Press.