Sherin Mathews Laid to Rest in Small, Private Ceremony, Attorneys Say

Child's adoptive father, charged with felony injury to a child, remained in jail as she was laid to rest

Sherin Mathews, the 3-year-old found deceased in a drainage culvert Oct. 22 after being reported missing weeks before, was laid to rest Tuesday.

Mitchell Nolte and Gregg Gibbs, lawyers representing the Mathews family, released a statement Tuesday on the family's behalf saying the child was laid to rest in a small, private ceremony that was conducted according to the religious beliefs and cultural heritage of the family.

"Because of the intense press and social media attention in this case, the family chose to keep the ceremony private so the focus could be on Sherin’s future in Heaven and not on her tragic death on earth. Because of personal security concerns and threats of grave desecration, they have chosen to keep the burial location private as well. Sherin deserves that assurance of peace," the family's lawyers said in a statement.

Someone in attendance told NBC 5 Sherin's casket was covered in flowers and stuffed animals.

"Sherin’s family and friends recognize that many people around the world have become emotionally involved in her heartbreaking death. While they cannot express their gratitude to everyone personally, please know they do appreciate the outpouring of love for Sherin and thank everyone for their kindness and prayers," the lawyers said.

Mathews disappeared Oct. 7, after her father Wesley Mathews told police he'd told his daughter to stand outside under at about about 3 a.m. for not drinking her milk. He said he went back to check on her 15 minutes later and that she'd disappeared. Hours later he called to report her missing, setting off a number of organized searches for the missing child in the coming days.

The child's body wasn't found until more than two weeks later.

A day after her body was found, the girl's adoptive father told police a different story and said that his daughter choked to death after he "physically assisted" her in drinking her milk. Mathews then told police that he moved her body from the family's Richardson home.

Wesley Mathews, who was originally charged with negligence following his daughter's disappearance, was re-arrested and charged with felony injury to a child.  He is being held at the Dallas County Jail and was not present at his daughter's funeral.

Attorney's representing the child's mother, Sini Mathews, said she had nothing to do with the child's death and has been cooperating with police in their investigation. Sini Mathews has petitioned the courts to allow the couple's 4-year-old biological daughter, who was put into foster care following her sister's disappearance, to be returned to her custody.

For now, the couple's other child remains in foster care.

NBC 5's Maria Guerrero contributed to this report.

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