WASHINGTON COUNTY, Ind.–A woman for Louisiana was sentenced to 25 years in prison on Tuesday for her role in the death of a child that was found in a suitcase in Washington County in 2022.
In total, Dawn Elaine Coleman, 41, of Shreveport, Louisiana gets a 30 year sentence with five years suspended to probation. Coleman entered a plea agreement earlier this month to conspiracy to commit murder, which is a level 1 felony.
“This crime impacted not only Washington County, but became a nation-wide story,” said Washington County Prosecutor Tara Hunt. “The victim in this case was an innocent child who was barely five years old. It’s always tragic when a child’s life is taken. It’s incomprehensible when those who should be caring for the child are responsible.”
For most of 2022, the child’s identity was a mystery for months, but investigators eventually identified him as Cairo Jordan, the son of Dejuane Anderson from Atlanta.
Coleman was arrested in October 2022 in California on a Washington County warrant once the police say they determined that Coleman was involved in the child’s disappearance. Police claim they discovered that Coleman was acquainted with Anderson and the three of them stayed in a home together in Louisville.
Court documents state that Coleman admitted walking into a bedroom of the home where she witnessed Anderson lying on top of the child, who was face down on the bed with his face into the mattress. Coleman told police “it was already done” when she walked in. She says Anderson asked her to help put Cairo in a trash bag and then into the suitcase.
The two of them drove to an area outside of Pekin, Illinois where they dumped the suitcase in the woods. The suitcase was discovered by a man who was searching for mushrooms on April 16, 2022. Coleman’s fingerprint was identified in a black plastic bag containing the child’s body.
After Coleman was arrested, investigators say she told them that she had known Anderson for about a year and traveled extensively with both her and Cairo.
Anderson is still at large. Police say she will be charged with murder when she is found and arrested.
“We are committed to following this case through until the end,” said Prosecutor Hunt. “None of the law enforcement officers and agencies involved in this sad case will find closure until we have ensured Cairo’s mother is held accountable for her actions. This conviction is only the first step in obtaining justice for Cairo.”
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