CLAYTON, Mo. — A jury has found a man guilty of the death of his 9-year-old son nearly 20 years after the boy went missing.
Dawan Ferguson was charged in 2019 with first-degree murder and abuse of a child resulting in death. A jury in St. Louis County found him guilty of first-degree murder Friday. That carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison without the eligibility of parole.
His son, Christian, had a rare metabolic disorder that prevented his body from processing protein. When he disappeared in 2003, he could not walk or talk and would have died within 48 hours without proper medication, according to court documents.
Dawan told police his son was in the back of his SUV when it was carjacked in June 2003 in St. Louis.
Dawan Ferguson was represented by public defender Jemia Steele.
The prosecution outlined Christian’s medical problems and the care required to take care of him. Witnesses described abuse toward Christian as the prosecution built the case that Dawan neglected Christian’s specialized care.
Christian’s body has never been found.
“What we've heard is a lot of innuendos, 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,” Steele said.
Two days before Dawan claimed he was carjacked with Christian in the car, a judge ordered him to let his ex-wife see their son again. Dawan had not let her see him for about three months, and funding for home health care nurses had run out.
St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell held a news conference after the verdict Friday. He thanked Christian's mother, Theda Person, for her testimony, and the lead prosecutor in the case.
Person asked for people to keep cases of missing people top of mind.
"So many missing person cases are murder cases waiting to be solved," Person 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.