RICHARDSON, Texas -- The disappearance of three-year-old Sherin Mathews is posing plenty of problems for Richardson Police and public, but Dallas-based lawyer Chad Ruback says one thing is a guarantee.
"Mr. Mathews is going to be convicted. Mr. Mathews is going to spend some time in prison for what he did," Ruback told NewsFix Monday. "The only question is how long he's going to be behind bars and what he's convicted of."
Mathews' dad, Wesley, has been placed front and center by his own admission. An arrest affidavit reveals that the 37-year-old ordered Mathews to stand next to a tree across an alley near their home in the Dallas suburb of Richardson about 3 a.m. Oct. 7. He went outside about 15 minutes later to check on her, but Sherin was gone.
Authorities say the father didn't notify police that his daughter was missing until about five hours later.
"He has stupidly admitted that he knew there were coyotes out in the area where he left her," Ruback said, referencing the arrest affidavit.
According to Ruback, leaving a child in imminent danger could mean up to 20 years for Wesley Mathews, but what about three-year-old Sherin, a little girl described as only three-feet-tall, 22 pounds, and with developmental problems?
What if she's still missing in a week, a month, or even a year?
We saw that scenario play out with Saginaw's Opal Jennings in 1999. The six-year-old's remains were found by accident five years later.
"It's going to be tough to find her," Ruback said. "If they haven't found her in the first few days, it's not going to be easy."
The Amber Alert that went out for little Sherin last Saturday only exists because of the disappearance of Arlington nine-year-old Amber Hagerman back in 1996. Twenty-one years later, the Alert just makes us aware. It doesn't locate this little girl.
According to Ruback, one piece of evidence will be key to learning the truth and possibly finding Sherin Mathews. The family SUV that went missing about an hour after Sherin did. Her dad said he noticed she was gone at 3:15 AM. Police say that vehicle was gone from roughly 4:00 AM until 5:00 AM.
"They are going to find out where that SUV was, and when they find out where it was, likely that's going to give them a clue as to what happened to young Sherin," he said.
With the area canvassed and the Mathews family no longer cooperating with Police, it might be our best hope.