A 5-year-old boy who was found dead inside a burning car in Gaithersburg was murdered, Montgomery County police said.
Narges Shafeirad, 33, claimed a fire had started and her car crashed off Route 370 on June 16, killing her son, Daniel Dana. But police now believe the crash and fire were staged to cover up a murder.
"Daniel Dana was murdered. The cause of death was Diphenhydramine intoxication and the manner of death was a homicide," said Capt. Darren Francke of the Montgomery County Police Department.
Shafeirad is now charged with first-degree murder and arson.
Police said interviews with the mother and toxicology tests revealed that she forced her son to drink an entire bottle of allergy medicine commonly known as Benadryl, which caused a fatal overdose.
Police said Shafeirad then took her son's body, put it into her car and drove off. While driving, the mother allegedly started a fire in the front seat with gasoline and then crashed the vehicle with her dead son inside.
When first responders arrived, police said she claimed it was all a horrible accident.
"Narges Shafeirad, Daniel's mother, intentionally overdosed him, which caused his death and then set fire to the vehicle," said Capt. Francke.
Authorities said Shafeirad was in a bitter custody and divorce case against the victim's father. A hearing was scheduled for the day of the homicide.
Neighbors tell us the boy's father is devastated. According to Gislene Andrade, "It's very very sad. He cried, hugged us and said my little boy is gone."
Andrade and several other neighbors tell FOX 5 Shafeirad seemed distant at times. They were afraid something was not quite right at the home.
"It was a very strange situation, one day she is very happy the other day she doesn't look at you or even say good morning," said Andrade.
Shafeirad received second- and third-degree burns over 40 percent of her body as a result of the fire, but police said they do not believe the mother planned to kill herself.
Shafeirad is under arrest, but not in jail. She is under guard at an undisclosed hospital and still recovering from her burns. Authorities were asked if she has undergone a mental evaluation and police say, so far, she has not.