A desperate search is underway for a 3-year-old Texas girl whose father says vanished after he left her outside at night as punishment for not drinking her milk, according to police.
Sherin Mathews was last seen wearing a pink top and black pajama bottoms outside of her home in Richardson, just north of Dallas, around 3 a.m. Saturday, local authorities said in a release. She has “developmental issues and limited verbal communication skills,” according to the authorities.
Sherin’s father, Westley Mathews, allegedly told police that he ordered the three-feet-tall, 22-pound child to stand by a tree near an alley as punishment over the milk dispute. He returned to check on her 15 minutes later but found her gone. He didn’t call police until five hours later, Sgt. Kevin Perlich told Dallas-Fort Worth station KXAS-TV.
“Why was the last sighting at 3 o’clock and the parents not call us until after 8 a.m.? That’s the question we want answered as well,” Perlich told the station. “As far as why she was out there, how long she was out there, that’s the questions we have for the parents.”
Mathews was arrested later that night for abandoning or endangering a child, police said. He was released on $250,000 bond.
According to a copy of the arrest affidavit obtained by local television station WFAA, the girl’s father told police that he knew coyotes had been spotted in the alley where he left his daughter. The home is also near railroad tracks.
Amid the ongoing search for the child, a 4-year-old has been taken from the family’s home and placed in foster care, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services told WFAA. She added that the family has previously had contact with the department.
Late Monday afternoon, an Amber Alert was discontinued due to a lack of leads in the case.
Anyone with information on the child’s whereabouts is urged to contact police at 972-744-4800.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.