Maryland mom drugged 5-year-old son, left him for dead in burning car

A Maryland mother will serve half a century in prison for drugging her 5-year-old son before putting him in a car and lighting it on fire, a judge ruled Monday.

Narges Shafeirad forced Daniel Dana to drink 338 milligrams of diphenhydramine, an active ingredient in allergy and cold medications such as Benadryl. After administering the lethal dose, she set the car Dana was locked in on fire and staged it to look like an accident, according to The Washington Post.

Officials determined that Shafeirad’s motive was “misguided retaliation” against her husband, Hamid Azimi-Dana. Court documents alleged the pair were entangled in a bitter divorce since splitting in June 2013.

Azimi-Dana and Shafeirad, who were wed on December 17, 2007, had joint custody of their son. Shafeirad experienced financial issues; her lease expired, leaving her homeless on the day of the murder.

“She could not handle her life and couldn’t take care of the child and did not want to give the child to the father and his new girlfriend,” Montgomery County Assistant State’s Attorney Marybeth Ayres commented during a news conference last year.

Her attorney, Melanie Creedon described the crime as an unpremeditated “act of a helpless and hopeless and broken woman” who saw “no way out.”

Last year, Shafeirad pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in exchange for a 50-year sentence. NBC Washington reported that the mother agreed to spend life in prison with all but 50 years suspended. If released, she will serve 5 years of probation and is banned from contacting anyone under 18.

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Montgomery County fire and rescue crews responded to a suspected car crash on at 3:30 am on June 16, 2015. Shafeirad was found face down in the locked car and Dana’s body was found in the back seat next to his Spiderman backpack as crews extinguished the blaze. Shafeirad sustained second- and third-degree burns on 40 percent of her body.

Police determined she intentionally crashed her Toyota Corolla and used water jugs filled with gasoline to douse the interior. Shafeirad later told cops that she gave her son medicine to treat a fever, prosecutors stated. Daniel’s mother also claimed she had gasoline bottles in case she couldn’t find a gas station on the way to the beach and that the fire started when she lit a cigarette while driving.

Prosecutors presented evidence that Dana had bruises around his mouth, indicating Shafeirad force-fed him the medicine. After giving her son a full bottle, she gave him additional doses every two to four hours until he died, The Post also reported.

“He was everything to me,” Azimi-Dana wrote in an impact statement to Circuit Judge Nelson Rupp. “Since my Daniel is gone and left me alone, I am gone too. I am a hopeless person walking.”

[Feature Photo: Family Handout; Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office]