Michigan Mother Convicted in Shocking Starvation Death of Disabled Son Vomits on Stand

A 44-year-old Michigan woman, Shanda Vander Ark, was found guilty of murder and child abuse in the death of her 15-year-old disabled son, Timothy Ferguson. During her trial, an incident occurred where Vander Ark vomited in the courtroom after being shown photographs of her son’s body. Timothy, who weighed only 69 pounds, was determined to have died from malnourishment and hypothermia in July 2022.

During the trial, Prosecutor Matt Roberts questioned Vander Ark about giving Timothy a bath before his death, a claim that was contested by her older son. When presented with images of Timothy’s condition, Vander Ark reacted by vomiting and was unable to continue her testimony, leading to the courtroom being cleared.

The jury, after deliberating for just over an hour, returned a guilty verdict. Vander Ark faces a mandatory life sentence, with sentencing scheduled for January 29. Prosecutor Roberts emphasized the severity of the crime, stating that the teenager was starved to death.

Vander Ark’s attorney, Fred Johnson, argued that his client was unaware of the harm she was causing her son and did not know he was starving. However, this claim was contradicted by text messages and admissions from Timothy’s elder brother, who also testified against Vander Ark.

Paul Ferguson, 20, Vander Ark’s elder son, reported giving Timothy an ice bath on the day of his death, following his mother’s instructions. He was in the bath for approximately four hours. Paul faces one count of first-degree child abuse for his alleged involvement in the crime. The court heard that Timothy was subjected to regular abuse, including ice baths, being fed hot sauce, shackled, and deprived of sleep.

Vander Ark reportedly instructed Paul to taunt Timothy with food and to carry out other abusive acts. While Paul refused certain demands, he admitted to following many of his mother’s instructions. He described his actions as being influenced by a need to gain approval, likening it to Stockholm Syndrome.

The case has drawn attention due to its disturbing nature and the severe treatment endured by Timothy Ferguson at the hands of his family.

CrimeDoor
Author: CrimeDoor

Leave a Reply

Share on:

[mailpoet_form id="1"]

Subscribe to Our Newsletter