Richardson Police Department
They only knew her from afar, from the news accounts they saw in the paper and on TV – and with her loss, those who mourn Sherin Mathews needed a place to grieve.
Saturday afternoon, a permanent site in memory of the 3-year-old Richardson girl will be dedicated following an interfaith ceremony at Restland Funeral Home and Cemetery, WFAA-TV (ABC8) reported.
Community members pushed for the memorial’s creation after the girl’s body was found in a culvert on Oct. 22, more than two weeks after her family reported her missing.
“She’s still in everybody’s hearts,” Richardson resident Shari Block told the station. “To have a place for the community just means so much.”
A donated granite bench engraved with Sherin’s name and an epitaph adorns the landscaped site, in a portion of the cemetery dedicated to young children. The epitaph reads: “A life that touches others goes on forever.”
“We really tried to find something that fit this situation,” said Restland family service specialist David Turnblad. “It just seemed right.”
The bench was donated by Richardson resident Gene Champagne, who’d won it in a raffle in Colleyville and almost immediately knew what he would do. “I won that for a reason,” he said.
Sherin’s story drew global attention, with thousands posting speculative theories about her death on Facebook and referring to her as “Princess Sherin” and “daughter of the world.” A makeshift memorial of balloons and stuffed animals grew at the site where her body was found.
One group even unsuccessfully petitioned authorities to release the girl’s body to the community for an interfaith burial.
Wesley Mathews, Sherin’s father, has been charged with injury to a child after telling police he “physically assisted” Sherin with drinking her milk before she choked and died. His wife, Sini, was arrested and charged with abandoning or endangering a child.
The Dallas County medical examiner has not released Sherin’s cause of death. She was buried in a private ceremony at an undisclosed location.
The couple adopted the girl from India. A second daughter, who is also 3, is living with relatives after initially being placed in foster care.
Saturday’s ceremony is set for 3 p.m. at Restland Memorial Chapel, 13005 Greenville Ave., with the site dedication and dove release to follow at 4 p.m.