(Reuters) – The body of a toddler found in a culvert beneath a Texas road was likely that of a girl reported missing by her father about two weeks ago, police in the Dallas suburb of Richardson said on Monday.
Police were awaiting a report from the local medical examiner before saying if it was 3-year-old, Sherin Mathews, an adoptee born in India, who disappeared in early October.
The body was found on Sunday with the help of search dogs about a half mile from the family’s house in Richardson.
“It is most likely her,” Richardson Police Sgt. Kevin Perlich said, referring to the missing child.
The girl’s father, Wesley Mathews, 37, was arrested on Oct. 7 for suspected child endangerment after he told police that he disciplined Sherin for not drinking her milk by telling her to stand outside at night near an alley behind their residence.
Wesley Mathews had been released on bond, police said earlier this month.
No new arrests have been made in the case, said Perlich on Sunday. The girl’s parents were told that the body had been found prior to the police announcement, he said.
A phone call to Mathews’ attorney on Monday was not immediately returned.
According to an arrest affidavit, “Mathews said he directed his daughter to stand near a large tree at approximately 3 a.m. (on Oct. 7) because she wouldn’t drink her milk.”
The father told police he checked on her about 15 minutes later and she was gone, the affidavit said.
About five hours after sending her outside, Mathews called police to report her missing, a police spokesman said.
(Reporting by Bernie Woodall in Fort Lauderdale, Florida; editing by Diane Craft)