NORTON SHORES, Mich. — A Norton Shores woman has been charged with homicide and first degree child abuse after police found her teenage son dead in her home.
Shanda Vander Ark, 43, was arrested in her home on Wednesday after police were dispatched to her residence regarding a suspicious death.
When police arrived at the home, they found the boy dead and described him as extremely malnourished with evidence of abuse.
Prosecutor DJ Hilson spoke with 13 ON YOUR SIDE, calling this "the most disturbing case he has seen in his career."
Hilson says Vander Ark fed the boy only bread soaked in hot sauce, even pouring the hot sauce down his throat. He also says the boy was placed in an ice bath the day before his death, citing hypothermia as a contributing factor in his death.
Neighbors of Vander Ark told 13 ON YOUR SIDE that the boy had special needs and couldn't believe something like this could happen so close to home.
"It's very disturbing. You see in the news all of the bad things and you wonder when it's going to come to your neighborhood, or street even and you just never know," said Timothy Minnerick, who lives nearby.
Other neighbors expressed their condolences and said the family was in their thoughts but declined to be interviewed.
Police are asking any witnesses to come forward. Anyone with information can call Silent Observer (231) 722-7463 or the Norton Shores Police Department (231) 733-2691.
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