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Murder Trial Begins Monday for Dad Accused of Killing Adopted Daughter

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NBC 5 News

Update: Wesley Mathews has accepted a plea deal to avoid a capital murder trial. Click here to read more.

Testimony is set to begin Monday in the capital murder trial of Wesley Mathews. The Richardson man is accused in the 2017 murder of his three-year-old daughter, Sherin Mathews. If convicted, he faces life in prison without parole.

The child was reported missing by her father on October 7, 2017 – setting off a massive search for the little girl. Her body was discovered two weeks later in a culvert, near the family’s home in Richardson.

Mathews initially told police Sherin went missing after he told her to stand by a tree behind the family's home as punishment. Police say he later told investigators Sherin choked while drinking milk.

"We will continue to fight for justice for her and remember her forever," said Shanna Poteet who runs a Facebook group called "Love & Justice for Sherin 'Saraswati' Mathews."

"In many ways, people feel, we feel like we are her family," Poteet said.

The group holds regular meet-ups and vigils for the girl.

"There was a huge outpouring, not just from Richardson, but nationwide and worldwide. A lot of people from India have really followed this story," said Poteet.

The Mathews family adopted Sherin from India, where she was abandoned as a baby.

During the trial, prosecutors plan to present evidence pointing to broken bones and poor treatment of Sherin by Mathews before she went missing.

In a pretrial hearing earlier this month, Dallas County Assistant District Attorney Jason Fine said Sherin suffered five broken bones in a five month period, most of which were not immediately tended to and were not discovered until days or weeks later by doctors.

The state said on Feb. 1, 2017 Wesley Mathews acting alone, or with his wife, "caused injury to Sherin Mathews resulting in fractures to the bilateral humerus, femur and tibia."

The Mathews, the state contends, did not disclose the injuries for at least one week. Furthermore, the history provided to doctors was not consistent with how the injuries happened, the state said.

Prosecutors will also be allowed to tell jurors that on Feb. 24, 2017, Wesley Mathews failed to keep a scheduled appointment with the Failure to Thrive Clinic at Children's Hospital for Sherin.

Both parents, the state contends, failed to provide adequate nutrition to Sherin from September 2016 until the time of her death in October 2017.

The state said a significant number of messages and content were deleted from Wesley Mathews' cell phone, which was seized by police on Oct. 7, 2017. All communications between Wesley and Sini were deleted on the cell phone, the state said.

A file named "Sherin log" was deleted off of the Mathews' computer on Oct. 9, 2017, two days after Wesley Mathews reported Sherin missing.

All internet history between Oct. 6 and Oct. 7, 2017, was deleted off of the Mathews computer, the state contends.

Approximately 19 physical therapy appointments were cancelled by the Mathews, related to therapy for Sherin, between September 2016 and May 2017, the state said.

In March,prosecutors dropped a charge of child abandonment against Sherin’s mother, Sini Mathews. 

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