Lin Ferguson, Christian Ferguson’s sister, testified in court Wednesday morning that she was abused by their father, Dawan Ferguson. As a result, she was hesitant to report anything about Christian’s disappearance to authorities or DFS.
Dawan Ferguson is on trial for first-degree murder and child abuse resulting in death after his son, Christian, disappeared in June 2003. Christian had a rare metabolic condition, was disabled, and required around-the-clock care.
On the morning of June 11, 2003, Dawan Ferguson called 911 from a pay phone outside a gas station at Page and Skinker to report his SUV has been carjacked with Christian still inside the vehicle. Dawan said he was bringing Christian to St. Louis Children’s Hospital at the time and had stopped to call the hospital in advance of their arrival. Police found the SUV hours later but not Christian. Court documents said Christian would have died within 48 hours without his proper medication.
Christian was never found. He was 9. The boy has since been presumed dead.
Christian was born with a genetic disorder of one’s metabolism called citrullinemia, which means the body produces more ammonia in the blood. As a result, the boy needed to be on medications and could only ingest a minuscule amount of protein in his daily diet.
At the start of her testimony, Lin identified Dawan Ferguson as a “sperm donor” and not her father.
Lin, who was 8 years old at the time of Christian’s disappearance, said she shared a bedroom with Christian while other siblings had their own rooms in the house.
According to Lin, Christian was very thin after a January 2001 trip to the hospital. She said you could see Christian’s pelvic bones and the notches in his spine. She remembered being able to play with her brother before that 2001 hospital visit and said he could get around normally too.
Lin described her father’s abuse and mistreatment of Christian over the years. She told the court she never witnessed Dawan feed or give medicine to Christian. She said Christian was tethered to his bed with his comforter on multiple occasions. She remembered one instance when the family went to a hotel that night and left Christian restrained on his bed with the lights turned off at the residence. She could not recall any adults ever being at the home when that happened.
Lin testified that when she was between the ages of 6 and 8, she routinely bathed Christian because he was dirty and sitting in soiled diapers for prolonged periods of time.
On June 10, 2003, the day before Christian’s disappearance, Lin said she noticed Christian’s feeding tube (G-tube) was missing. She said told Dawan’s wife at the time, who said she already knew about it.
Christian was moaning and groaning the entire day and seemed to be in immense pain, Lin said. Her brother’s discomfort continued into the night.
Lin said Dawan and his ex-wife, Monica, came into the room in the middle of the night and took Christian into the TV room. Lin does not believe Dawan and Monica knew she was awake at the time.
Lin told the court she could not see into the TV room from her bed. She described what sounded like a struggle. She said Christian’s moaning and groaning got more intense and then suddenly stopped. She then heard Monica make a noise that sounded like whimpering.
Dawan then brought Christian back into his bed. Lin said Monica stood in the doorway and seemed to be crying.
Christian was not moving and not making any noise at this time, Lin said.
A short time later, Dawan returned to the bedroom and picked Christian up in a comforter, Lin said. Dawan carried Christian into his car and left with the boy.
Lin never saw her brother again.
Jemia Steele, Dawan’s defense attorney, asked Lin if she remembered ever speaking with the police, child advocacy personnel, or federal agents in the months and years following her brother’s disappearance. Steele pointed to a November 2003 interview with an FBI agent in which Lin said Dawan took Christian away in the car that night but did not include anything about hearing a struggle in the TV room.