Sherin Mathews, a three-year-old Indian girl who was found dead in a ditch last month in the US state of Texas, had a series of broken bones and injuries in various stages of healing that could not have happened prior to her adoption, a doctor has said in a testimony before a court.
The girl’s body was found in the culvert under a road about one kilometre from her home in suburban Dallas on October 22. She was reported missing by her foster father Wesley Mathews on October 7.
Wesley Mathews and his wife Sini adopted the girl in June 2016 from Bihar.
Dr Suzanne Dakil, a paediatrician and child abuse expert, testified on Wednesday that Sherin Mathews was hospitalised in February 2017 and also had an elbow fracture in September 2016. Her injuries were visible in various X-ray scans taken last year and earlier this year, reported WFAA, an ABC-affiliated television station.
Dakil’s testimony came during a hearing in which the girl’s foster parents sought to recover from the state custody of their 4-year- old biological child. They lost her custody after Sherin Mathews went missing.
She said the X-ray scans suggested that the injuries were inflicted after the girl was adopted. The X-rays this year showed that fractures in Sherin Mathews’ tibia and femur were in different stages of healing.
The doctor said that the pattern of injuries led her to believe that Sherin Mathews was abused on separate occasions. She then filed a report with Child Protective Services after seeing the X-rays.
The couple, facing criminal charges, repeatedly took their Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination when asked about what happened to Sherin Mathews.
The hearing will resume on Tuesday and two more witnesses are scheduled to take the stand.
Wesley Mathews had initially told police that the girl disappeared when he made her stand in a lane behind their house in Richardson city at 3 a.m. on October 7 as punishment for not drinking milk.
But after the girl’s body was discovered, the father admitted that the child choked while he was making her drink milk and died in their home.
Sini Mathews, who is behind bars on child endangerment charges, had her bond reduced from $250,000 to $100,000 on Monday. Wesley Mathews had been charged with felony injury to a child. He is in the Dallas County jail on a $1 million bond.
Washington, Nov 30 (IANS)