WASHINGTON COUNTY, Ind. – A woman who admitted she helped a mother dispose of her son’s body by dumping a suitcase in southern Indiana learned her sentence this week.
Dawn Coleman pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder, according to court documents filed in Washington County.
Coleman, 41, of Shreveport, Louisiana, had been additionally charged with aiding, inducing or causing murder; neglect of a dependent resulting in death; and obstruction of justice. Those counts were dismissed.
Washington Circuit Court Judge Larry Medlock accepted the guilty plea and sentenced Coleman to 30 years, with 5 years suspended to probation.
The infamous case came to light in April 2022, when a mushroom hunter in Washington County found a suitcase containing the remains of a little boy. The hunter then called 911, touching off a lengthy investigation.
Police released a photo of the Las Vegas suitcase in which the remains were found, circulating it widely in hopes of finding the people responsible for the then-unidentified boy’s death.
The boy was buried in Washington County in June 2022, with members of the community referring to him as “Angel.” In October 2022, Indiana State Police identified “Angel” as 5-year-old Cairo Ammar Jordan. A local monument company added his name to the headstone at Crown Hill Cemetery in Salem.
Police arrested Coleman in San Francisco on Oct. 19, 2022. Cairo’s mother, Dejaune Ludie Anderson, remains at large.
According to court documents, Cairo was killed at a home in Louisville, Kentucky. Coleman said she came into a bedroom and saw Anderson on top of him. She said he was already dead, and she helped Anderson place his body in a trash bag and then put it inside the suitcase.
They took the suitcase to Washington County, where they dumped it with Cairo’s remains inside.
An autopsy found he died due to an “electrolyte imbalance” most likely attributed to a “viral gastroenteritis.”
According to court documents, Anderson believed her son was a demon who needed to be killed or exorcised. In social media posts, she wrote about protection spells, curses and hexes.
After her arrest, Coleman told investigators she’d known Anderson for about a year and had traveled extensively with her and her son. Key evidence of Coleman’s involvement was a fingerprint pulled from the black plastic bag found inside the suitcase.
The arrest warrant for Anderson remains active.
“We are committed to following this case through until the end,” said Washington County Prosecutor Tara 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.”