CLAYTON, Mo. — For 15 years, Lin Ferguson never told anyone that she saw her father take her 9-year-old special needs brother into another room and heard a struggle the night before the child went missing.
“Because I was abused, and I told everyone what I knew he wanted me to tell them,” she said during the third day of her father’s murder trial.
Dawan Ferguson was charged in 2019 with first-degree murder for the death of his son Christian Ferguson. On June 10, 2003, Dawan Ferguson told police he had been carjacked and his son was in the car. Police found the car, but Christian remains missing and is presumed to be dead given the extensive medications and care he required due to a genetic disorder that prevented his body from processing protein.
Lin Ferguson was a year younger than her brother and was known as Connor Ferguson at the time of Christian's disappearance.
She took the stand Wednesday detailing how her brother was often left to wear nothing more than diapers that were often urine-soaked, and that she never saw her father or his wife feed her brother or give him medications.
Dawan Ferguson’s public defender Jemia Steele told her several times how she did not tell police about the struggle she heard in the other room of the house.
Prosecutors frequently objected, saying she needed to read from the transcript of an audio recording her mother made of their conversations following the disappearance and not discuss the absence of evidence.
Judge Brian May sustained the objections.
An FBI forensic interviewer who talked to Lin Ferguson following Christian’s disappearance also testified, and the state played a 90-minute recording of the conversation.
Dawan Ferguson wiped away tears as the child told the interviewer he could sing and started to sing.
“You have a beautiful voice,” the interviewer told Lin.
“Some of the kids in my class tell me I sing like a girl and act like one,” the child responded.
Lin Ferguson then moved to be closer to her mother, Theda Person, who was also crying in court.
Wednesday’s testimony has also included an FBI agent who told jurors she was part of the search at the Ferguson household.
“Did anything disturb you about the home?” Assistant Prosecutor Ashley Bailey-Smith said.
“It was tidy,” the agent responded. “It didn’t look well-lived-in.”
The agent said Christian’s bed was urine-soaked, all the way through to the wooden slats under his mattress and a large amount of “biological matter” had pooled underneath it.
She also testified that she found five double diapers in the trash — some of which contained digested diaper materials, suggesting that was all Christian had in his GI tract despite the foods and formula he should have been fed.
The state also called one of the Ferguson children's teachers to the stand, Ruth Todd Coleman, who said she ultimately became a live-in nanny/girlfriend of Dawan Ferguson.
She said he told her, "You know me, I had to do what I had to do," when she asked what happened to Christian.
The FBI asked her to wear a wire during subsequent conversations with Dawan, but she didn't get anything incriminating on them. The defense also noted how she continued her intimate relationship with Dawan Ferguson after he allegedly made that comment to her.
"Your relationship didn't end because of Christian, correct?" Steele said.
"Correct," Todd Coleman said.
Dawan Ferguson was also charged with two counts of rape, two counts of statutory sodomy and second-degree child molestation after police say between May 2008 and 2010, he sexually assaulted a child younger than 14, and that victim became pregnant and had a child. Police say he continued to assault the victim between May 2010 and 2013 when the victim was younger than 17 years old, according to court documents.
Police said he sexually abused another victim, who was younger than 17, between September 2000 and 2003, according to court documents.
His trial date for those charges has been set for Aug. 1.