Sherin Mathews has been missing for two weeks. She disappeared Saturday, October 7 after her thirty-seven-year-old father, Wesley Mathews, alleges that he took her outside, behind the family’s backyard fence. He made the toddler stay roughly 100-feet away near a tree, in the dark, all alone. He told police he did that at 3 AM and that he knew that coyotes had been sighted in the area.

When Mathews returned outside for the three-year-old little girl, he couldn’t see very well as he looked around. He didn’t find her. He decided to return to the family’s home, without his toddler daughter.

He said that he thought Sherin might find her way home by herself. Let’s recall, however, he told law enforcement there was poor visibility, but he anticipated a toddler would be able to see better in the dark than he was able?

Toddler’s father didn’t tell police someone drove family’s SUV, but he mentioned doing laundry

He went back to the family’s house. No call to police and no waking his wife. Instead, he thought it was a good time to wash a load of clothes. He finally called police shortly after 8 AM to report Sherin missing, but he neglected to also tell authorities that someone drove the family’s 2013 maroon Acura MDX SUV between 4 AM and 5 AM.

The little girl’s mother, Sini Mathews, could not have driven the SUV if we are to believe what Sherin’s parents told law enforcement.

She slept through everything that happened while her toddler daughter went missing until police arrived on-scene sometime after 8 AM. Neither parent has volunteered to authorities who drove the vehicle, where the vehicle was driven, and why the vehicle was driven. What is known is the duration, not the absolute distance, that the SUV was driven.

In light of what law enforcement has pieced together from evidence, the SUV was driven, at most, 30 minutes one direction and 30 minutes back to the Mathews’ home. That is the longest distance possible. Police seek surveillance footage of the family’s SUV from people and businesses within a 30-mile radius of the Mathews’ home.

Parents not cooperating with authorities, but one of missing child’s parents knows who drove SUV

The parents are not cooperating with law enforcement following the arrest of Wesley Mathews on child abandonment or endangerment charges and CPS having removed the couple’s four-year-old daughter from the home. That’s a shame. Someone in the Mathews’ house knows who drove the SUV the morning a 22-pound little girl disappeared.

Missing child’s rights should trump parents’ expectation of privacy for family vehicle

Technology, however, can speak to law enforcement as a result of evidence collected in a case when the time was and remains critical in finding Sherin Mathews. That leads to this: The expectation of privacy.

People have a reasonable expectation of during in certain places, including restrooms, private residences, and hotel rooms.

If the SUV was equipped with so-called smart technology or myriad microchips, all bets should be off when it comes to the family-owned SUV when there is a missing child such as Sherin Mathews. Law enforcement’s ability and need to access all information directly related to the use of that vehicle on a morning when the family’s little girl went missing should not be slowed or hindered by the family. They should not be delayed in their search for the little girl by having to secure a warrant via subpoena to access the microchips.

Toddler’s mother wants daughter returned but didn’t consent to voluntary search

Sini Mathews has expressed that she is distraught and hopes for her toddler daughter’s return. Her criminal defense attorney, Kent Starr, made certain that everyone understands that Sherin’s mother wants her back.

What stopped her from simply handing the keys to the family’s vehicles over to law enforcement? What compelled her not to authorize a voluntary search of the vehicles right down to the nuts and bolts if needed and if it would help bring her daughter home. She has not been charged or accused of any wrongdoing, Starr told the public about his client.

Wesley Mathews’ permission isn’t needed for the toddler’s mother to cooperate with authorities.

But the little girl’s mother has apparently decided it is in Sherin’s best interest to say nothing, to do nothing, and to not ask for anything that might help find her daughter.

Missing little girl isn’t objecting to search for vehicles

The family’s SUV was missing from the Mathews’ home the morning the little girl disappeared. Sherin was most likely a passenger in the SUV on more than one occasion. A rational person would think that the little girl would not object to authorities stripping down the vehicle and accessing data within the microchips. But, there is still the law that stipulates a reasonable expectation of privacy for the adults.

Why should a vehicle with, let’s say, GPS or On-Star be blanketed with privacy when the family’s child is missing?

The vehicle was driven in public on public roadways. To access data that a vehicle’s microchips may contain, law enforcement is hit with a stumbling block when agencies must obtain a subpoena and serve that precious warrant.

Legislators may contemplate privacy when it concerns a missing child such as Sherin Mathews

How about legislators think of Sherin Mathews when contemplating how to enhance society and help children? The least likely scenario in the world has presented itself as the result of a parent who allegedly lost his child over some milk at 3 AM. Now that parent, with a novel approach to discipline, refuses to cooperate with law enforcement, standing behind his right to legal counsel.

The family vehicle had to be towed for a search to commence.

Precious time was lost during the first 48-hours of the little girl’s disappearance. Her right to equal protection under the law should trump the parents’ ability to stymy an investigation.

A child’s life and the search for a missing child should automatically override any expectation of privacy when it comes to any vehicle that that family owns. Law enforcement should not have to wait and lose valuable time as a result of uncooperative parents whose child is missing. The case involving Sherin Mathews in unlike any other that people have witnessed. Parents in the Mathews’ situation would generally do all they can to assist in finding their child.

Unwarranted delays in searching for missing children

Now that Sherin’s parents have evidenced that people can do the least expected things and when least expected, legislators may choose to close a loophole that allows for unwarranted delays in searching for at-risk, endangered missing children. There should be a universal exception to the expectation of privacy affecting vehicles with so-called smart technology in circumstances such as the case involving Sherin Mathews. She can’t speak for herself, but technology may help tell her story.

Anyone with information that can help law enforcement authorities locate three-year-old Sherin Mathews is asked to contact police at (972) 744-4800.

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