On Thursday, sixteen years after the disappearance of Christian Ferguson, St. Louis County prosecutors have charged the boy’s father, Dawan Ferguson, with first-degree murder. Christian suffered from a rare disorder in which his body didn’t process protein, leaving him mute and immobile.
Between January 2001 and June 2003, Christian was under the care of his father. Dawan allegedly withheld proper nutrition and medication from Christian during the two-year time period in which he had full custody.
On June 11, 2003, Dawan took his son and permanently left their home in Pine Lawn, Missouri. Christian has yet to be seen or heard from since.
Shortly after leaving Pine Lawn with his son, Dawan called the police from a payphone. He told the police that while stopping to make a personal call, his Ford Expedition was carjacked with Christian still inside.
Later that same day, the Expedition was found approximately five miles from the location where Dawan had called the police earlier in the morning. A local resident that lived in a cul-de-sac where the SUV was found said the vehicle had been parked there for about three hours.
Christian was not inside. Authorities searched the surrounding area for Christian’s body, as well as Dawan’s home in Pine Lawn, but came up empty.
At the time of Christian’s disappearance, Dawan was a bounty hunter. It was reported that he hired private investigators to remove any evidence that could potentially be used against him. He also refused to take a lie-detector test and stopped cooperating with authorities when he cut an interview short.
Authorities also discovered that his use of a payphone to call in the original carjacking and kidnapping was suspicious since Dawan had his own personal cell phone.
A television news video revealed a car that belonged to one of Dawan’s friends parked near the intersection where he used the payphone. The friend also lived near the cul-de-sac where Dawan’s SUV was located.
However, after years of investigating the disappearance of Christian Ferguson, the case went cold.
St. Louis County Prosecutor Wesley Bell recently spoke with reporters, saying, “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 refused to reveal any new evidence that led to the authority’s decision to suddenly charge Dawan with the murder of his son. Bell, along with St. Louis Police Chief John Hayden and St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar, have been reviewing the case for “several weeks.”
John Rogers, who represented Dawan Ferguson at one point, said that Ferguson is maintaining his innocence and that charging him for the murder of Christian is a “serious mistake.”