Jury convicts mom who threw up on witness stand when shown photo of teen son she starved to death

Jury convicts mom who threw up on witness stand when shown photo of teen son she starved to death

(As originally published, Tue, December 19th 2023)

MUSKEGON, Mich. (TND) — A woman in Michigan has been convicted of murder and child abuse after her disabled 15-year-old son died of starvation.

WXMI reported Shanda Vander Ark threw up during her testimony on Thursday when she was shown a photo of Timothy Ferguson’s body. It reportedly showed bruises, and his ribs nearly visible through his skin. He weighed just 69 pounds when he died in July 2022.

The cause of Timothy’s death was determined to be malnourishment and hypothermia, and the manner, homicide.

Prosecutors said he had some mental disabilities and was being home-schooled.

They also claimed there was torture involved. Prosecutors showed text messages Vander Ark sent to her older son, Paul Ferguson, instructing him to taunt Timothy with a frozen pizza roll — which he apparently did — and to pour hot sauce on his younger brother’s genitals, which he did not.

Jury convicts mom who threw up on witness stand when shown photo of teen son she starved to death
Shanda Margaret Vander Ark was convicted of murder and child abuse after her disabled 15-year-old son, Timothy Ferguson, died of starvation, July 7, 2022. (Muskegon Central Dispatch)

Also, Timothy’s mother and brother subjected him to ice baths, and restrained him with shackles and zip ties. Paul Ferguson was charged with child abuse.

Vander Ark, 44, was sick and not in the courtroom when she was convicted on Friday.

She faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison.

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Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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