Sherin Mathews’ Death inspires New Texas Law

It is hard to forget the death of 3 year old Sherin Mathew who was adopted Wesley and Sini Mathews  from an orphanage in Nalanda, Bihar. Sherin Mathews was left alone in her Richardson, Texas, home last October as her Indian American adoptive parents went out to dinner.

A proposed Texas law that would make leaving a young child alone at home a felony offense was inspired by the Sherin Mathew’s death.

Two Texas residents, Reena Bana and Shanna Poteet, were inspired by Sherin’s death, and together created the proposed law, which they hope to bring before the Texas state legislature. Reena said, “With Sherin, we draw the line. It’s enough. It’s time to make a change.”

Shana Poteet said, “No children under 9- or 10-years-old need to be left unaccompanied at home.”

The pair are working with attorney Bilal Khaleeq, who practices family law, and local agencies to determine a minimum age that a child can be left at home alone. Ages 9, 10, and 12 have been suggested thus far.

The proposed law also makes it a felony to wait a few hours before reporting a missing child. Wesley Mathews did not report Sherin missing for about five hours that morning.

The Mathews left the little girl in the kitchen of their home, as a punishment for not drinking her milk. At 3 a.m. the following morning, Wesley Mathews told police he had “physically assisted” Sherin with drinking her milk, and then watched as she choked to death before placing her body outside the home. The little girl’s body was found three weeks later.

Current state law does not specify at what age a child can be left at home alone, leaving it to the parents’ discretion. Only three U.S. states currently specify at what age a child can be left at home alone: Illinois, Maryland and Oregon.

A grand jury, however, found that Wesley Mathews had used a deadly weapon to kill Sherin. Mathews, who is currently incarcerated on a $1 million bond, has been charged with capital murder, and faces the death penalty.

Sini Mathews has been charged with abandoning a child, a felony offense which carries a sentence of two to 20 years.