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Police: Father of missing Texas girl, 3, did laundry before reporting daughter gone

Photo: AP

A 3-year-old suburban Dallas girl went missing over the weekend after her father made her stand outside in the middle of the night as punishment for not drinking her milk.

On Tuesday, investigators said the father has revealed he "went inside and did laundry" after discovering her gone, WFAA reported. He told officials he was hoping she would return.

The father didn't notify police that his daughter was missing until about five hours later, said Sgt. Kevin Perlich. He said the delay in reporting the matter "is certainly concerning to us."

"That does not seem like a normal response that one would do if you have a missing child," Perlich said.

Wesley Mathews, 37, said he ordered Sherin Mathews to stand next to a tree behind the fence at their Richardson home at around 3 a.m. Saturday, according to an arrest affidavit. The tree is across an alley from the home.

Mathews went outside about 15 minutes later to check on her, but Sherin was gone, the affidavit states. The child, who has a developmental disability, was wearing leggings, a pink long-sleeved shirt and pink flip-flops.

Mathews was arrested Saturday on a charge of abandoning or endangering a child. He posted bond late Sunday, according to Perlich. A working phone number for Mathews could not be found and it's not clear if he's hired an attorney to speak on his behalf.

Police said Tuesday's search of the home a "natural progression of the investigation," WFAA reported. It was completed on Wednesday; officers will now turn their attention to examining the evidence collected.

Though Mathews at one point told investigators that coyotes have been seen in the alley, investigators say there's no indication that one might have dragged the girl away.

State Child Protective Services removed a 4-year-old child from the home early Monday, he said. A CPS spokeswoman, Marissa Gonzales, said the agency has had dealings with the family before, but she declined to release additional information.

Perlich said Mathews and his wife adopted Sherin, who was malnourished when the couple took her in. Mathews told investigators it wasn't unusual for the girl to wake up late at night to eat so that her weight would increase, Perlich said.

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