The mother of a 5-year-old boy who authorities found dead in a burning car now faces homicide charges, officials announced on July 31.
CBS Baltimore reports that, on June 16, emergency crews responded to a car fire around 3:30 a.m. in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Narges Shafeirad told rescuers that somebody was inside her car. Her son, Daniel Dana, was trapped, but first responders were unable to save the child.
Police now say that Shafeirad started the fire to cover up the way that she killed her son. She faces charges of first-degree murder and first-degree arson, according to WUSA9.
Police have stated that first responders found Shafeirad face down and screaming in pain outside the driver’s side of the burning vehicle. The mother, who suffered second and third-degree burns over 40 percent of her body, was promptly taken to the hospital.
Officials questioned the cause of the fire-starting crash, why Shafeirad was on the road at that time, and why the car appeared to have so little damage.
The Montgomery County Police Department has apparently found its answer.
“Daniel Dana was murdered,” the director of the Major Crimes Division told reporters on July 31.
The medical examiner’s office ruled Daniel’s death a homicide, and police believe Shafeirad intentionally overdosed her son earlier with diphenhydramine, a substance found in Benadryl, and set a fire to cover her tracks.
The fire started in the front seat area, fire marshals working with a reconstruction team report. They said they did not find evidence of a mechanical malfunction, but they did notice that the 1993 Toyota Corolla smelled strongly of gasoline. They concluded the fire was started intentionally in the passenger compartment, aided by an accelerant.
Shafeirad had a custody hearing scheduled hours after Daniel’s death.
The mother was in the middle of a divorce with the boy’s father, who had a restraining order against Shafeirad for the year of 2013 due to domestic violence concerns. The estranged wife also faced a charge of forcible entry after attempting to break into the father’s house last year.
Shafeirad is currently in custody at a medical facility and will be moved to a detention center “in the near future for processing,” police said.