This report is part 13 of an investigative series looking into reported corruption in the Missouri Judiciary and family courts. For the rest of the investigation visit the catalog here.
Theda Person has been waiting for this moment for eighteen years. For eighteen years her son, Christian, has been missing and presumed dead. Person says she always knew who the killer was, the child’s father Dawan Ferguson. She says when her child disclosed child abuse to her, she did what she thought was right and reported it to the child abuse hotline. That started a chain of events that led to Person losing her son to the custody of a child abuser who has been charged with his murder after eighteen years of searching for a body.
St. Louis County grand jurors Wednesday indicted Dawan Ferguson, 48, on first-degree murder and child abuse resulting in death in the disappearance and presumed death of Christian Ferguson. Sixteen years after disabled 9-year-old Christian Ferguson disappeared, prosecutors in St. Louis County have charged his father in the child’s presumed death [Theda Person insists it has been 18 years, not 16]. Dawan Ferguson, 46, was charged with one count of first-degree murder. He was later charged with two counts of statutory rape, two counts of statutory sodomy and child molestation. Charges say he abused two children at various times from 2000 to 2013.
Person said Ferguson could have been stopped when she first reported the sexual molestation almost two decades ago but she says her court-appointed guardian ad litem, Nathan Cohen, did not believe her and worked on behalf of the abuser to remove Christian from Person and give him to a molesting murderer. “This GAL…he told me he was going to tell the judge that the father is the better parent,” Person told PJ Media. “My child is dead. My life is forever changed.”
PJ Media met with parents in St. Louis who are telling the same horror story as Person and begging for authorities to protect their children from abusers before it’s too late for them. We sat down with Person and many other parents in the family courts who say their kids are in serious danger and got their stories. Part one of that interview is below. Theda Person is now married to a representative in the Missouri House, Mike Person.
“My child had a rare genetic disorder,” she said. “Without medication and a special diet he would die in 24 to 48 hours. They knew all of this and they allowed this tug of war to continue.” Person says that her judge was complicit as well. “Judge Thomas J. Frawley, he’s the judge that allowed all of this to transpire in his courtroom…if you don’t do what they say they make it hard for you.”
Person continued saying, “The truth will set you free, so they say. My life is forever changed.”
Many other parents tell their stories in the one-hour video below. Please give these parents the opportunity to be heard since the St. Louis press is shutting them out completely. You won’t regret the time spent listening to people fighting a system that has been twisted against them. Is this how American justice is supposed to work?
PJM reached out to GAL Nathan Cohen and asked him for a response to Person’s charge.
Unfortunately, I am unable to comment on cases involving minors and confidential information obtained in the course of my duty to the court as a court appointed guardian ad litem.
When PJM followed up with more questions, we were told to stop contacting Cohen. It’s interesting that guardians like to cite the confidentiality standards, but they never cite the standards of care required of them in the service of children. If they took those half as seriously as the confidentiality “wall of silence” standards, more children might be saved from abuse and murder.
PJM attempted to reach out to Judge Frawley for comment but was unsuccessful in reaching him.
If you or someone you know is a victim of the St. Louis County Court guardian ad litem program, please contact me [email protected]
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