A Missouri father and former bounty hunter has been charged in his 9-year-old son’s death — some 16 years after the disabled boy disappeared, according to reports.
Dawan Ferguson, 46, was charged Thursday in St. Louis County with first-degree murder for causing the presumed death of his son, Christian, who suffered from a rare disorder that stopped his body from processing protein, leaving him immobile and unable to talk, according to a probable cause statement obtained by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Ferguson, who had full custody of his son at the time, allegedly neglected to give the boy food and necessary medication during a two-year period between January 2001 and June 2003. He then fled his Pine Lawn home with his son on June 11, 2003 – and the youngster was never seen or heard from again, the paper says.
St. Louis County Prosecutor Wesley Bell refused to say why authorities are charging Ferguson now, but he told reporters the case had been under review for the past several weeks.
“We have determined that we’re going to look at cases with a fresh set of eyes and this is a case where we feel the evidence compels us to seek justice for Christian and that’s what we’re going to do,” Bell said Friday, KTVI reports.
Without his prescribed medication, Ferguson’s son would have died within 48 hours, court documents show.
Dawan Ferguson told police Christian vanished when a carjacker drove off with his 1999 Ford Expedition — with the boy inside — when the dad stopped at a payphone, the Post-Dispatch reports.
Investigators initially eyed Ferguson – who worked as a bounty hunter at the time — in the disappearance, but no signs of his son were found during two searches of the man’s rental home and an area near where he told cops his son went missing.
Later that day, Ferguson’s SUV was discovered about five miles away without his son inside. He has previously denied being involved in the boy’s disappearance through an attorney, the Post-Dispatch reports.
Ferguson, who has been ordered held without bail, also refused to take a lie detector test and used a payphone to report the alleged carjacking and kidnapping, despite having a cellphone, according to the newspaper.
An attorney who previously represented Ferguson told the paper he was unaware of any new evidence in the cold case.
“I anticipate that any competent defense attorney will challenge the authority of Mr. Bell to prosecute this case at this time,” defense attorney John Rogers said.
Christian’s mother, meanwhile, said she was “totally overwhelmed” by news of Ferguson’s arrest, the Post-Dispatch reports.
“I knew that justice was on its way, but I’m in shock,” Theda Person told reporters alongside Bell. “I feel supported and I’m excited. I’m a lot of different things right now because I don’t know how to be in this place, but I’m glad that I’m here.”