Suspect faces more than 100 years in prison for death of boy found in suitcase
SALEM, Ind. (WAVE) - More than 100 years in prison. That’s what one woman is facing who is charged in connection with the death of the five-year-old boy found in a suitcase in Indiana this spring.
Dawn Coleman, who was arrested in October in San Francisco, began breaking down as her potential punishment was read. This was Coleman’s first time in court following police identifying Cairo Jordan as the five-year-old in the suitcase, and Coleman and Cairo’s mother as wanted for his death.
For investigators one part of this case is over.
“To see her here on Indiana soil brings not resolution but closure to that part of the case that we have her back here in Indiana to answer charges,” said Sergeant Carey Huls of the Indiana State Police.
Coleman told officers shortly after her arrest she had followed Dejaune Anderson around the country for a year and occasionally babysat Cairo. Following Anderson’s release from LMDC for a robbery arrest this spring, Coleman walked into a room in a house the three were staying at and found Anderson on top of her son. He was face down on the bed beneath her, and Coleman told police it was already done.
Trash bags were already in the room, and Anderson asked Coleman to help put Cairo’s body in a bag and then into Coleman’s Las Vegas suitcase. Anderson put the suitcase in the car they drove and Coleman dumped the suitcase holding Cairo in the woods where it was found days later.
Washington Circuit Court Judge Larry Medlock set Coleman’s bond at $5 million.
“It’s a very serious case,” said Huls.
Prosecutors surprised Coleman by adding an aiding murder charge to her case. In court, Coleman began shaking as the new charge was read. Tears streamed down her face as Medlock read the potential sentences... up to 40 years for neglect of a dependent causing death and up to 65 years for aiding murder. A 40-year-old, Coleman could spend the rest of her life in prison.
“We still have one more out there that we’re confident we’ll find soon and bring back here as well,” said Huls.
Meanwhile police are still searching for Anderson.
“Nobody can hide forever it is possible there have been a few in history but only a few so I’m confident we will find her or she will show up on the radar someplace,” Huls said.
Coleman has pleaded not guilty. Prosecutors have asked Medlock to hold her without bond. He’ll review that motion in December at her next hearing. A trial has been set for May.
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