Shanda Vander Ark arrested

Timothy Ferguson Death, Shanda Vander Ark arrested

Timothy Ferguson Death – Timothy Ferguson, age 15, was subjected to torment and starvation to death at the hands of Paul Ferguson, age 20, and his mother, Shanda Vander Ark. Timothy was educated at home. Additionally, R., his 7-year-old sibling, resided in the household; however, no reports of abuse against him were received.

Timothy was educated at home due to his autism spectrum disorder, speech impairment, and motor impairment. Vander Ark, who had been the subject of previous substantiated child abuse investigations in Oklahoma in 2012, managed to prevent the termination of her parental rights by consenting to vacate the family residence. Prior to moving to Norton Shores in 2021, where she served as a legal clerk and passed the bar, she had occupied a total of eighteen distinct residences across multiple states. It appears that Timothy and his father, N., relocated to Norton Shores in May 2021. However, in January 2022, N. suffered a stroke and relocated to his parents’ residence in Florida, abandoning Timothy and N. in Vander Ark’s home without their knowledge. Vander Ark subsequently initiated the mistreatment of Timothy and directed Paul to partake in the maltreatment.

Timothy was compelled to sleep on a tarp in a closet beneath the staircase, which was alarm-locked at night to prevent him from using the restroom. Vander Ark instructed Paul to mistreat Timothy via text message and over-the-air speakers while she was at work, while her sons were being monitored by five surveillance cameras in the residence. Through the arrangement of their work schedules, Vander Ark and Paul maintained constant surveillance over Timothy. Vander Ark provided Paul with the directive to “maintain Timothy alert by causing him discomfort through the application of cold water” and by maintaining the light on to deter him from dozing off. Additional “punishments” administered by Paul to Timothy comprised protracted standing, cold showers, forced vomiting, and excessive physical activity. Timothy was consistently confined to a bed of shackles and cable ties.

What Vander Ark advised Paul to feed Timothy was as follows. From January 2022 until his demise in July 2022, Timothy was starving to death; he was only provided with “bread with hot sauce or rice with hot sauce.” Locking the refrigerator door prevented Timothy from gaining access to the food. Paul was ordered by Vander Ark to administer hot sauce to Timothy by force, using a burn that was described as “extremely painful,” as a form of punishment for “theft of food he did not require.” Paul declined Vander Ark’s further directive to subject Timothy to torment by pouring hot sauce over his genitalia. Vander Ark instructed Paul, shortly before Timothy’s death, to test his lucidity by taunting him with a pizza roll; when Timothy attempted to seize the roll, she instructed Paul to seize it. At the moment of his demise, Timothy weighed 69 pounds, and his ribs were visibly exposed through his epidermis.

Vander Ark and Paul observed Timothy experiencing “trembling and difficulty walking,” but they disregarded those symptoms as exaggerated. Before his demise, Timothy was rendered speechless and incapable of providing a response. Under the direction of Vander Ark, Paul immersed Timothy in a cold bath for a total duration of nine and a half hours. Vander Ark expressed her resolve to “outlast” Timothy to Paul. Paul repeatedly struck Timothy on the head and subsequently deposited him back on his head once he was removed from the ice bath. Timothy succumbed to dehydration, malnutrition, and hypothermia the following morning. Upon his demise, his physique was adorned with injuries and scars.

The abuse was exposed subsequent to Vander Ark notifying authorities of the discovery of Timothy’s body. As a result of R. informing investigators about the maltreatment taking place within the residence, Vander Ark was apprehended. Vander Ark faced homicide and first-degree child abuse charges, while Paul, in return for his testimony against Vander Ark, was charged with child abuse. Judgment will be rendered in July 2023.

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