Woman sentenced to 25 years after pleading guilty in case of boy found dead in suitcase in Indiana

SALEM, Ind. (AP) — A Louisiana woman was sentenced Tuesday to 25 years in prison for her involvement in the death of a 5-year-old Atlanta boy whose body was found last year in a suitcase in rural southern Indiana.

A Washington County judge sentenced Dawn Elaine Coleman, 41, of Shreveport, Louisiana, to 30 years with five years suspended to probation. She had pleaded guilty to a Level 1 felony charge of conspiracy to commit murder in connection with Cairo Ammar Jordan's death.

Coleman must serve more than 18 years under Indiana code, which requires those convicted of Level 1 felonies to serve 75% of their sentence, the Washington County Prosecutor’s Office said.

Cairo's body was found inside a suitcase in a wooded area about 35 miles (56 kilometers) northwest of Louisville, Kentucky, in April 2022. An autopsy found that he died from vomiting and diarrhea that led to dehydration, Indiana State Police said.

Investigators said Cairo had died about a week or less before a mushroom hunter discovered his body in a hard suitcase emblazoned with a distinctive Las Vegas design.

He was buried last June at a Salem, Indiana, cemetery after a memorial service where a police chaplain called the then-unidentified child an “unknown angel.”

Authorities released Cairo's name last year after announcing that he been identified and that Coleman and the boy's mother, Dejuane Ludie Anderson, were suspects in his death.

A felony murder arrest warrant was issued for Anderson in November 2022, but the Atlanta woman remains at large, the prosecutor's office said Tuesday.

Investigators determined that Coleman was acquainted with Anderson and the two women had stayed with Cairo in a home together in Louisville. Authorities alleged that Coleman helped Anderson dispose of Cairo’s body in April 2022.

“This crime impacted not only Washington County, but became a nation-wide story,” County Prosecutor Tara Hunt said in a news release. “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.”