Woman throws up on stand as she's shown photos of disabled son she starved to death

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A mother facing trial for the murder of her disabled son brought proceedings to a halt when she vomited during the trial.

Shanda Vander Ark, a 44-year-old mother from Michigan, was on trial for child abuse, murder, and torture charges related to the death of her 15-year-old disabled son, Timothy Ferguson, The New York Post reports.

Timothy had tragically passed away from malnourishment and hypothermia, as determined by the autopsy. During the trial, Vander Ark claimed that she had given her son a warm bath on the night of his death, a statement contradicted by her older son, Paul Ferguson, aged 20.

The 15-year-old's lifeless body was discovered in July 2022, hidden in a closet and covered with a tarp.

As the trial unfolded, prosecutor Matt Roberts relentlessly questioned Vander Ark about the alleged warm bath she claimed to have given her son. He then presented photographs of Timothy's emaciated body, asking if that was how her son looked when she placed him in the bath.

Overwhelmed by the situation, Vander Ark covered her mouth and began retching into a basket placed under the stand.

Despite muttering an apology, Vander Ark continued to vomit. The judge, seeing the distressing situation, ordered the courtroom to be evacuated. Upon resuming the trial, Vander Ark did not return to the courtroom, and the jury eventually found her guilty of murder and child abuse. She is scheduled to be sentenced on January 29, 2024, and could face life in prison.

Paul Ferguson, who also faced one count of first-degree child abuse for his alleged involvement in the crimes perpetrated by his mother, disclosed that he had given Timothy an ice bath on the fateful day, as per his mother's instructions.

He admitted to leaving his disabled brother in the icy water for at least four hours. These ice baths were just one facet of the ongoing abuse endured by the 15-year-old. He was reportedly shackled and restrained with zip ties, deprived of sleep, fed hot sauce, and tormented with food by his mother and older brother.

Ferguson explained that his willingness to inflict such abuse stemmed from his low self-esteem. "I'd say it's something close to Stockholm Syndrome," he said. "I desired to find a role model that, due to my own low self-esteem, I would do anything to make them proud of me."

The tragic case has shed light on the horrifying extent of abuse endured by Timothy Ferguson, leading to the conviction of his mother, Shanda Vander Ark, for murder and child abuse. The sentencing, scheduled for early 2024, will determine the consequences she will face for these heinous crimes.

Featured image credit: Pool / Getty

Woman throws up on stand as she's shown photos of disabled son she starved to death

vt-author-image

By VT

Article saved!Article saved!

A mother facing trial for the murder of her disabled son brought proceedings to a halt when she vomited during the trial.

Shanda Vander Ark, a 44-year-old mother from Michigan, was on trial for child abuse, murder, and torture charges related to the death of her 15-year-old disabled son, Timothy Ferguson, The New York Post reports.

Timothy had tragically passed away from malnourishment and hypothermia, as determined by the autopsy. During the trial, Vander Ark claimed that she had given her son a warm bath on the night of his death, a statement contradicted by her older son, Paul Ferguson, aged 20.

The 15-year-old's lifeless body was discovered in July 2022, hidden in a closet and covered with a tarp.

As the trial unfolded, prosecutor Matt Roberts relentlessly questioned Vander Ark about the alleged warm bath she claimed to have given her son. He then presented photographs of Timothy's emaciated body, asking if that was how her son looked when she placed him in the bath.

Overwhelmed by the situation, Vander Ark covered her mouth and began retching into a basket placed under the stand.

Despite muttering an apology, Vander Ark continued to vomit. The judge, seeing the distressing situation, ordered the courtroom to be evacuated. Upon resuming the trial, Vander Ark did not return to the courtroom, and the jury eventually found her guilty of murder and child abuse. She is scheduled to be sentenced on January 29, 2024, and could face life in prison.

Paul Ferguson, who also faced one count of first-degree child abuse for his alleged involvement in the crimes perpetrated by his mother, disclosed that he had given Timothy an ice bath on the fateful day, as per his mother's instructions.

He admitted to leaving his disabled brother in the icy water for at least four hours. These ice baths were just one facet of the ongoing abuse endured by the 15-year-old. He was reportedly shackled and restrained with zip ties, deprived of sleep, fed hot sauce, and tormented with food by his mother and older brother.

Ferguson explained that his willingness to inflict such abuse stemmed from his low self-esteem. "I'd say it's something close to Stockholm Syndrome," he said. "I desired to find a role model that, due to my own low self-esteem, I would do anything to make them proud of me."

The tragic case has shed light on the horrifying extent of abuse endured by Timothy Ferguson, leading to the conviction of his mother, Shanda Vander Ark, for murder and child abuse. The sentencing, scheduled for early 2024, will determine the consequences she will face for these heinous crimes.

Featured image credit: Pool / Getty