OAG Collaborates with Harris County Sheriff’s
Office To Keep Predators Off the Streets
AUSTIN. TX – Attorney General Ken Paxton today announced that the Fugitive Apprehension Unit of his office collaborated with Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez to arrest 28 sex offenders over the course of five days during a Child Sex Offender Warrant Initiative.
“My office will make every effort possible to ensure that our children are protected from predators,” Attorney General Paxton said. “I commend Sheriff Gonzalez and his office for their hard work, and I thank everyone involved with this collaborative effort to keep our neighborhoods safe.”
From October 23-27, teams of sworn officers from the attorney general’s office and the Harris County Sheriff’s office executed open warrants for child sex crimes and for Failure to Register as a Sex Offender.
In addition to warrant execution, teams also drove by offender homes to check for violations such as Halloween decorations.
“Harris County parents should be able to trust that the law enforcement community is pulling together to do everything we can to keep children safe on Halloween and every day of the year. I want to thank the Texas Office of the Attorney General for helping us track down and arrest some of our community’s most dangerous offenders,” said Sheriff Gonzalez. “Child predators are on notice: We are watching and we will lock up anyone who attempts to harm a child.”
ME Confirms Body Found Sunday Is Missing
RICHARDSON, TX – Did now confirmed dead Richardson toddler Sherin Mathews choke while drinking a glass of milk? There are more questions after an announcement from the medical examiner and new details from the arrest affidavit of Sherin’s adoptive father, Wesley Mathews.
Police arrested Mathews for a second time on Monday afternoon after he voluntarily went to the Richardson Police Department, with his lawyer, and asked to talk to investigators. It was then that Mathews changed his account of what happened in the early morning hours of October 7, the day he claimed Sherin went missing.
Originally, Mathews had told police that he was punishing Sherin for not drinking her milk and that at 3 a.m. he ordered outside to stand by a tree about 100 feet outside their backyard. He said he left the little girl there and when he returned 15 minutes later discovered she was gone.
On Tuesday evening, community members got together to mourn the loss of the little girl.
The affidavit detailed how after being advised of his rights on Monday Mathews now said that the incident involving Sherin happened in the garage of the family home.
Mathews new claim is that he was trying to get the little girl to drink her milk, but that she wouldn’t listen to him. He said at some point when Sherin finally complied he “physically assisted the 3-year-old girl in drinking the milk.” It was then that Mathews said the toddler began to choke and that after coughing for a while her breathing slowed.
The 37-year old said that when he could no longer feel Sherin’s pulse he “believed she had died” and removed the body from the house.
Richardson police Sergeant Kevin Perlich said that basically Mathews new story is, “… contrary to what we were initially told when she was first reported missing.”
“What he has told us now is that she was drinking milk,” said Sgt. Perlich. “She really didn’t want to drink that milk and so he was physically assisting her with that milk, apparently to the point where she began to choke, lost consciousness and eventually expired. During that period of time, Mr. Mathews never sought medical attention.”
Wesley Mathews was arrested again and booked into the Richardson City Jail. He is expected to be transferred to the Dallas County Jail sometime today.
Just before lunchtime Tuesday, the Dallas County Medical Examiner confirmed that the body of the child found on Sunday, about a mile from the Mathews’ home, is Sherin. Officials said they used dental records to confirm the little girl’s identity, but still have not determined how she died.
Before his arrest Monday Mathews had been out on bond after being charged for Endangering a Child. He is now facing a charge of Injury to a Child, a first-degree felony with a maximum punishment of life in prison.
“The charge, whether it be a murder charge or an injury to a child, is a first degree felony on the charge. They both carry the same penalty,” said Perlich.
Investigators said they are still piecing things together and that there could be more action taken in the case. “You might see additional arrests or even a modification of charges as we progress,” said Perlich.
According to investigators, Sherin’s adoptive mother, Sini Mathews, helped with the identification of the body. But police said her cooperation ends there.
Wesley Mathews is being held on a $1 million bond.
Police say there could be additional arrests. After hearing Wesley’s newest version of events, Richardson police say they reached out to Sini Mathews, Sherin’s mother. She declined to talk to police. Police say she did help identify the body found in the culvert, providing Sherin’s dental records and identifying the clothes found in the body.
Child’s body found in Richardson is ‘most likely’ missing 3-year-old Sherin Mathews
Dallas, TX – Less than a mile from the Richardson home where a missing 3-year-old was last seen two weeks ago, officials on Sunday discovered the body of a young child.
Police have not yet confirmed whether the body is that of Sherin Mathews, who has been missing since Oct. 7, but they indicated they have no reason to think it is a different child.
The medical examiner will determine the child’s identification and cause of death.
“The indications are that it is most likely her, however, we have not had positive ID. So until we have a positive identification we are not going to say it is Sherin,” Sgt. Kevin Perlich said.
The body was found about 11 a.m. in a culvert near East Spring Valley and South Bowser roads, east of U.S. Highway 75, with the help of search dogs.
As the investigation continued to unfold, more and more stuff came to [the] surface and we followed up on that,” Perlich said. “It led to the search of that area with canines, and that’s how we came across the body.”
The area was blocked off as a crime scene as police waited for the FBI response team to process the area. Late Sunday afternoon, a sheet-covered stretcher was loaded into a waiting van.
Sherin’s parents have been notified of the discovery.
The girl’s adoptive father, Wesley Mathews, was charged with abandoning or endangering a child after Sherin went missing. He was released from jail after posting bond and was required to wear an electronic monitoring device and surrender his passport.
No additional charges have been filed.
During a court appearance Monday, Sherin’s parents learned that their biological child, a 4-year-old girl, will remain in foster care for another three weeks while Wesley Mathews looks for a civil attorney.
Judge Cheryl Shannon has set a custody hearing for Nov. 13.
DA continues to push for change in
Child Abuse laws
SAN ANTONIO, TX – One day after a woman was arrested and accused of hurting three children, the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office announced a woman in a separate child abuse case has taken a plea deal.
Porucha Phillips, 34, entered a plea to two counts of injury to a child-serious bodily injury and received a sentence of 50 years in prison.
Phillips was arrested in April of 2016 after deputies found a three-year-old and a four-year-old tied with a dog chain and leash in the back of a North East side backyard.
Two other suspects still face charges in this case.
“We’re still in that negotiating process. This sets the tone. We’re showing how serious we are about this case,” District Attorney Nico LaHood said.
LaHood said he takes child abuse cases seriously. Last legislative session he pushed to have the law “enhanced.” He said it would give a judge or jury the opportunity to give the appropriate punishment for some of the most horrific abuse cases they see.
“It’s an enhancement, which always makes people feel uncomfortable, but all it’s doing is bringing everything up to status quo,” LaHood said. “We have that in other areas of the law with sexual assaults, with family violence, domestic violence situations.”
LaHood said he would push to have the laws changed again in the next legislative session.
When he appeared last week for a bail hearing in a Santa Cruz court, James Kohut, 57, learned that he will now face an 36 additional counts after investigators discovered video evidence allegedly showing the doctor abusing two young boys and a little girl with his two co-defendants, reports The Mercury News.
Kohut was arrested in May along with Rashel Brandon, 42, and an Arizona woman, Emily Stephens, 29. Both women, who were nurses, were charged with four counts of child sexual abuse, with Kohut originally facing 11.
Kohut could end up spending the rest of his life in prison if he is convicted on all 48 counts. He has entered not guilty pleas for all.
According to KSBW, police recovered GoPro video that was recorded between Jan. 1 and May 9 that allegedly shows all three defendants having sex multiple times with a 3-year-old and 10-year-old boy.
A second video filmed at a motel between Jan. 1 and May 9 allegedly depicts a sexual act by the three defendants with the same 10-year-old boy. Court documents list the footage as running longer than 50 minutes.
Plus, detectives found a cell phone video recorded between Jan. 1 and May 9 that allegedly depicts the defendants sexually abusing a 5-year-old girl.
Th new charges alleged the defendants abused 5 children in all: another girl and a child whose sex is being withheld.
All three are being held on $15 million bail, according to KCRA. Stephens faces 45 felonies and Brandon faces 44 felonies linked with molestation and have both pleaded not guilty. Their lawyers were unavailable for comment Tuesday.
The charges against Kohut include alleged abuses authorities contend occurred in 2003, 2014, 2016 and 2017. His lawyer could also not be reached.
Only Kohut is accused of lewd acts and rape of the 10-year-old boy. He is also charged with lewd acts on a fourth victim (a girl who was younger than 14) between 2003 and 2005 as well as a fifth victim in 2014.
‘Solicited Victims for Decades’
Prosecutors in court documents allege that, “for nearly 20 years,” the traveling surgeon with a current permanent address in Arkansas has displayed “a sexual compulsion, and has solicited victims for decades.”
“Like the crimes charged here,” the document alleges, “defendant was soliciting mothers to engage in sexual acts with children.”
Among the examples cited, the prosecution referred to a Vermont woman who said she had a relationship with Kohut from 1997 to 2000. “During that relationship, he told her that he wanted to get her pregnant so she could have a child and they could be sexual with that child,” the document alleges.
The allegations continue: “He told her that he was most interested in children between the ages of 6 to 8. He admitted that he had been in a relationship with a woman in Florida who had a 13-year-old and a 4-year-old child. He admitted that he had sex in front of those children, and fondled the 13-year-old. He would explain that he wanted a ‘sexual family.’ He would ask her to recruit friends for him, and he wanted her to call him ‘daddy.’”
Court documents obtained by PEOPLE allege a woman from Australia told investigators Kohut said in 2003 “that he was searching for a woman who he can impregnate, and will then ‘raise their children sexually.’ He then asked [the woman] if she would let him impregnate and raise their child sexually.”
“Defendant told her that if he had a daughter, he would want to impregnate her at the age of 10 and raise that child sexually as well. He also admitted to having sexual encounters with other children in the past.”
“Finally, he asked her to find him children. He wanted her to volunteer as a homeless shelter or do babysitting jobs and find children that she would molest and he would then listen to them over the phone,” the document alleges.
Kohut allegedly had affairs with both Brandon and Stephens.