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Man Convicted of Murdering His 9-Year-Old Special Needs Son After Calling 911 and Claiming the Boy Vanished During a Carjacking


Dawan Ferguson and Christian Ferguson.

A Missouri on Friday convicted a man of murdering his 9-year-old son. Dawan Ferguson, 49, committed the act in June 2003 and made a 911 call claiming a carjacker took his vehicle with child Christian Ferguson, 9, still inside, authorities have long alleged.

The defendant was not charged until 2019. Christian has yet to be found.

The child had special needs and required significant medical care. His mother testified that he was born with a rare metabolic disorder.

Prosecutor John Schlesinger told jurors during closing arguments on Friday that the events unfolded when Christian slipped into a coma on Jan. 16, 2001. The child sustained brain damage and could no longer walk or talk. He required a feeding tube.

“Everything changed then,” the prosecutor said.

Schlesinger told jurors that Dawan Ferguson failed to provide proper care for Christian, ignoring signs of problems at the beginning of the medical emergency and only checking on him the next day at 11 a.m.

“Because of all of that, Christian was in the hospital for the next six months, and he would never again be the cute little boy that you saw in that video,” Schlesinger said.

Christian’s final doctor’s appointment was on March 3, 2003, he said. He had lost seven pounds from his previous checkup and did not grow in height, the prosecutors said. Medical providers failed to report those issues, the prosecutor added.

“Should the nurses and should the doctors have hotlined this? Yes. Did they? No. But that does not mean that he has not been proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt,” Schlesinger said. “It just makes the story even more tragic because everybody in a way failed here.”

From March 3, 2003 until June 2003, no one saw Christian, the prosecutor said. Not doctors. Not nurses. Even his own mother.

“And that is the part that is most alarming here,” Schlesinger said.

Defense lawyer Jemia Steele unsuccessfully argued that prosecutors merely proved that her client was a bad father — not a murderer.

The state does not know what happened to Christian, she said.

“That’s not a murder trial,” she said. “What we’ve heard is a lot of innuendos, a lot of rumors, a lot of suggestions, and a lot of theories as to what they think happened, but we haven’t heard any evidence as far as what was the cause, or if Mr. Ferguson was the cause of Christian’s death.”

[Images via St. Louis County]

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