Mother Vomits On Stand In Trial Of Son She Abused To Death

A Michigan woman named Shanda Vander Ark was convicted of the brutal murder of her son Timothy Ferguson in July 2022. Timothy was fifteen years old and died weighing far below normal for his age and exhibiting symptoms of hypothermia and starvation.

In her testimony, Ark said that her son, Timothy Ferguson, had been bathed just before he was discovered lifeless in a closet where she had previously had him sleep wrapped with a tarp.

Ferguson, who weighed just 69 pounds when he died, had suffered from cold and malnutrition, according to subsequent postmortem results.

Ark was accused of mistreating her disabled son by starving him, placing him in cold baths, and force-feeding him spicy liquids. Photographs of her son’s undernourished physique were displayed to her during her trial,  which caused her to vomit.

On his last day alive, Timothy’s elder brother Paul claimed he followed his mother’s instructions and gave him an ice bath, putting him in the bathtub for four hours.

While testifying against his own mother, Paul admitted to satisfying a plethora of other bizarre demands she made of him.  Paul, who faced a single charge of first-degree assault on a child for his alleged involvement in the crime, was told by his mother to taunt his younger brother while throwing frozen snacks at his face and dousing his genitalia with hot sauce.

While asking Ark pointed questions about the details of the supposed bath, Ark began to gag at the sight of the photographs prosecutor Matt Roberts showed of her son’s battered and frail body. They caused her to throw up on the stand.  Ark confessed to placing Timothy inside the tub.

Just as she began to apologize, she was struck down with another wave of nausea and tears, and the judge was compelled to remove her from the courtroom.  Vander Ark never returned to the courtroom after the jury’s verdict of child abuse and murder.

Shanda Vander Ark was given a life sentence without parole, as reported by Court TV. Furthermore, she was sentenced to fifty to one hundred years in prison for first-degree child abuse.