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Woman who helped mother hide son’s body in suitcase sentenced to 25 years

Woman who helped mother hide son’s body in suitcase sentenced to 25 years

SALEM, Ind. (WISH) — The Louisiana woman who pleaded guilty for her role in the death of a boy whose body was found in a suitcase in southern Indiana was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Washington County Prosecutor Tara Hunt made the announcement Tuesday.

Dawn Coleman, 41, of Shreveport, Lousiana, was arrested in California in October 2022 for her connection to the death of 5-year-old Cairo Jordan of Atlanta, Georgia.

Jordan’s mother was identified as Dejuane Anderson of Atlanta. An arrest warrant was issued for Anderson on Oct. 25, 2022, but police still have not been able to find her. Prosecutors say she will be charged with murder upon her arrest.

Court documents previously obtained by News 8 say that in April 2022, a mushroom hunter found Jordan dead inside a Las Vegas-themed suitcase outside of New Pekin, Indiana. New Pekin is 40 minutes north of Louisville.

An autopsy found that Cairo died from vomiting and diarrhea that led to dehydration, Indiana State Police said. Investigators said the boy had died about a week or less before a mushroom hunter found his body.

Indiana State Police launched an investigation to try and identify Jordan and find the people responsible for his death.

The trail went cold until police identified Coleman and Anderson as suspects.

Coleman was arrested on Oct. 19, 2022, with the help of the San Francisco Police Department.

Court papers say Coleman told investigators she babysat Jordan while Anderson was in jail in Louisville in early April 2022. 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.

Following her arrest, Coleman told police she had known Anderson for about a year and had traveled extensively with her and Cairo.

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,” court documents say.

“It was already done,” Coleman said, referring to Jordan’s death, 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. Investigators later identified Coleman’s fingerprint on the black plastic bag wrapped around Jordan’s body.

“This crime impacted not only Washington County but became a nationwide story,” Hunt said. “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.”

On Friday, Coleman issued a plea agreement to a level 1 felony charge of conspiracy to commit murder. Alongside her 25-year sentence in the Indiana Department of Corrections, she will serve five years of probation.

Prosecutors say Anderson is still considered innocent until proven guilty.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.