Wesley and Sini Mathews, adoptive parents of the Indian-origin child who was found dead in Dallas in October 2017, have agreed to relinquish their parental rights over their biological daughter. Earlier in January, Wesley Mathews was charged with capital murder for killing three-year-old Sherin, and his wife was charged with child abandonment.

In a court hearing on Friday, Sini Mathews made “the extremely difficult decision to give up her parental rights because, given the circumstances and the pending criminal cases, this is in the best interests of the child”, her lawyer told Dallas News. “She wants what’s best for her remaining daughter,” the lawyer said.

In December, a judge had blocked the couple from being in touch with their biological daughter, after prosecutors argued that they failed to protect Sherin. The surviving child is now with relatives in Houston. They plan to adopt her.

The parents had reported Sherin missing on October 7, 2017, less than a year after they adopted her from India. They had then claimed she went missing after Wesley Mathews made her stand in the backyard of their house at 3 am as punishment for not drinking her milk. After authorities found her body less than a mile from their house two weeks later, Wesley Mathews admitted to the police that he had moved her body, but claimed Sherin had died choking on milk in the family’s garage.

Early in January, the Dallas County medical examiner had found that Sherin Mathews had died from homicidal violence, which led prosecutors to adding murder to the charges against the father.