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How toddler Sherin Mathews died will remain a mystery, says her neighbour in Dallas

How toddler Sherin Mathews died will remain a mystery, says her neighbour in Dallas
Highlights

Prosecutors argued the 39-year-old Wesley Mathews killed Sherin in October 2017. Police had initially arrested his wife Sini Mathews in connection with the death of 3-year-old Indian toddler.

DALLAS: Though a US court sentenced the Indian-American adoptive father of Sherin Mathews to life, a neighbour of the Indian toddler, still shocked by the tragedy, said what really happened in the family's garage on that fateful night in October 2017 would remain a mystery.

Omair Siddiqi lived just one street over from the Mathews in Richardson, in suburban Dallas. He has been following the sensational case from the beginning when it broke out on October 7, 2017.

Prosecutors argued the 39-year-old Wesley Mathews killed Sherin in October 2017. Police had initially arrested his wife Sini Mathews in connection with the death of 3-year-old Indian toddler.

Sini, a registered nurse, was charged with child abandonment. Her case was dismissed in March this year after prosecutors said they could not prove it beyond a reasonable doubt.

Siddiqi recalled the moment inside the Dallas courtroom when Mathews was sentenced to life in prison after an unanimous decision by a 12-member jury.

"I went numb inside. I had tears of joy. And it was powerful. I honestly did not expect a life sentence," said Siddiqi.

Still, the process has left emotional scars. Siddiqi was part of a neighborhood team that searched for Sherin Mathews for 15 days.

"We still don't know what happened to baby Sherin in that garage that night and I don't think we'll ever know," he was quoted as saying by nbcdfw.com.

Reacting to Wednesday's judgement, the Richardson Police Department released a statement, welcoming the sentencing.

"The investigation surrounding the death of Sherin Mathews has weighed heavily on the members of our Department and our community.

"We feel justice has been served with today's verdict of life in prison given to Wesley Mathews by a jury of his peers. We would like to thank the many law enforcement agencies and civilian partners for the resources and time spent on this case. We will always remember Sherin Mathews," the police said.

The judgement also evoked some reaction on Twitter.

"Sherin Mathews deserved better than Wesley and Sini. Sini walks and Wesley is allowed to plead to a lesser charge. When did Dallas County DA become so soft on child abusers, neglecters and murderers? Unbelievable," wrote one user on Twitter.

"First his wife walks and now this??? Where's the justice for Sherin Mathews?," asked another.

"Pity that she's not being held liable too," said another tweet.

Mathews testified this week that he wasn not ready to believe his daughter was dead. He said he believed if her body were near, she might come back to him, much like Lazarus resurrected in the Bible.

Mathews claimed that Sherin accidentally choked to death on milk.

He initially told police that Sherin went missing after he put her outside their home at 3 am in Richardson, Texas because she would not drink her milk. When he checked in on her 15 minutes later, Mathews said Sherin was missing.

He later admitted she died when he "physically assisted" her in drinking the milk and got chocked. Sherin's badly decomposed body was found 15 days later in a culvert by a cadaver dog.

Mathews told the jurors that he regrets his actions the night his daughter died and realises he could have done more to help her.

"It's just not fair that my heart still beats like my child's heart is not," he testified after pleading guilty on Monday to a lesser charge of injury to a child in Sherin's death. He was originally charged with capital murder.

Prosecutor Jason Fine said Mathews should have been Sherin's protector. He should have treated her body with more respect.

"Good dads don't dump their daughters in sewage drains," Fine said.

He then asked jurors to sentence Mathews to life and act as Sherin's "true protector."

"I ask you to show the love and the care that he claims he has," Fine said.

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