Indiana News

Docs: Woman helped mother place boy’s body in suitcase after his death

SALEM, Ind. (WISH) — A woman facing charges in the death of a boy found in a suitcase in southern Indiana says she helped the boy’s mother conceal his body in the suitcase after his death, according to court documents acquired by News 8.

Dawn Coleman, 40, of Shreveport, Louisiana, was arrested in California in October for her role in the death of Cairo Jordan, of Atlanta, Georgia.

Prosecutors added a charge of aiding, inducing, or causing murder on Monday. She was already charged with neglect of a dependent resulting in death and obstruction of justice.

In April, a mushroom hunter found Jordan, then 5 years old, inside a Las Vegas-themed suitcase near the town of New Pekin in Washington County. New Pekin is about 50 miles north of Louisville.

Indiana State Police launched an investigation to try and identify Jordan and find the people responsible for his death, but the trail went cold until police identified Coleman and the boy’s mother, 37-year-old Dejuane Anderson, of Atlanta, as suspects.

Coleman was arrested on Oct. 19 with the help of the San Francisco Police Department. An arrest warrant was issued for Anderson on Oct. 25, but police have not been able to find her.

Court papers say Coleman told investigators she babysat Jordan while Anderson was in jail in Louisville in early April. She told police she picked Anderson up when she was released from jail on April 11 and they traveled together to her cousin’s house in Louisville.

Coleman said she walked into the bedroom a few days later and found Anderson on top of Jordan, who was “laying face down on the bed, with his face into the mattress,” according to an amended probable cause affidavit.

“It,” Coleman said, referring to Jordan’s death, was “already done” when she walked into the room, court documents say.

Coleman told investigators Anderson asked her to help her put Jordan inside Coleman’s hard-sided Las Vegas suitcase.

“Coleman zipped up the suitcase with [Jordan] inside and Anderson placed it in the trunk of the same car that they were traveling in,” court papers say.

After they got in the car, court papers say Anderson told Coleman she thought the boy was “something really bad, that he was a 100-year-old soul or some old soul that wasn’t supposed to be here.”

Anderson and Coleman drove to Washington County, carried the suitcase into a wooded area, and left it there, according to court documents.

Coleman was being held Tuesday in the Washington County Jail on a $5 million bond, the Washington County Prosecutor’s Office confirmed to News 8.

A court appearance is scheduled for 9 a.m. on Dec. 15.