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Police believe body found in Richardson 'most likely' that of missing 3-year-old

(PHOTO: Richardson Police Department)

In a press conference, Richardson police said they believe a body found in Richardson Sunday afternoon is that of missing 3-year-old Sherin Mathews.

Police said a positive identification has not yet been made, but the remains are most likely hers. She has been missing since Oct. 7.

"It is with heavy heart you have been called here today since the time Sherin Mathews was reported missing on Saturday morning, October 7th. The Richardson Police Department and several others law enforcement entities have been working 24/7 to locate her. Today, at approximately 11 a.m. during one of those search operations, the body of a small child was discovered in the area of East Spring Valley Road and South Bowser Road."

Watch the press conference here:

On Oct. 10, 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.

Mathews was arrested on a charge of abandoning or endangering a child. He posted bond late Oct. 14, 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.

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

Investigators have seized three vehicles, cellphones and laptops from the family in an effort to find out what became of Sherin, Perlich said. Footage from surveillance cameras in the area also is being reviewed.

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. That may explain why she was punished at 3 a.m., he said. He said authorities are casting a broad net in determining what happened to the girl.

"We don't have any other indication or evidence that she was forcibly abducted from that area," he said.

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