Maryland Mother Gets 50 Years for Drugging 5-Year-Old Son, Setting Car on Fire

A Maryland woman was ordered to serve 50 years in prison for drugging her young son, putting him in her car and setting the vehicle on fire.

Daniel Dana, 5, died June 16, 2015, after prosecutors said his mother, Narges Shafeirad, forced him to drink a bottle of medicine. She then locked his body inside a car that she set ablaze, officials said.

Shafeirad pleaded guilty last year to first-degree murder in exchange for a 50-year sentence. 

She was formally sentenced Monday to life in prison with all but 50 years suspended. If she is released, she will be ordered to serve 5 years of probation with no contact with anyone under 18.

A Montgomery County fire and rescue crew initially thought they were responding to the scene of a car crash, when they found the car engulfed in flames about 3:30 a.m. at Sam Eig Highway (Route 370) and Fields Road.

Shafeirad was found face down outside the car, screaming. As first responders began extinguishing the flames, they saw Daniel lying on the floorboard in the back seat. They tried to get into the car to save him, but the doors were locked, police said.

Investigators believe Daniel had died before the fire began.


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Shafeirad was taken to a hospital with second- and third-degree burns on 40 percent of her body. She initially lied about what happened and then said she gave Daniel medicine, because he had a fever, prosecutors said. 

Investigators determined Shafeirad gave the child at least 4 ounces of the antihistamine diphenhydramine, which is the active ingredient in Benadryl, more than 2 1/2 times the amount that would kill an adult, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors believe Daniel fought for his life. He was found with cuts and bruises on his head and mouth.

The mother then doused the inside of the car with gasoline she kept in water bottles and set it aflame, prosecutors said.

Shafeirad and her husband, Hamid Azimi-Dana, were due in court for a hearing on the day she killed Daniel. Also, she had just lost her apartment. 

"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 said at a news conference last year. 

Shafeirad previously told the court that her husband had physically abused her for years, The Washington Post reported. Azimi-Dana said she had abused the child.

Daniel was bright, kind and inquisitive, the family's lawyers told the Post.

"He couldn't have been a nicer child," attorney David Gavin said.

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