Woman Sentenced in Case of Child Found in Suitcase

Washington Co.- A Louisiana woman arrested in connection with the death of a 5-year-old boy found abandoned inside a suitcase in rural Washington County in 2022 will spend more than 18 years in prison for her role in the child’s murder.

Dawn Elaine Coleman, 41, Shreveport, La., was sentenced Tuesday by Washington Circuit Court Judge Larry Medlock to 30 years with five years suspended to probation. Coleman entered a plea agreement earlier this month to a Level 1 felony charge of conspiracy to commit murder.

“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.”

The child’s identity was a mystery for months, but he was finally determined to be Cairo Jordan, the son of Dejuane Anderson of Atlanta.

Coleman was arrested in October 2022 in California on a warrant issued in Washington County after law enforcement determined she was involved in the child’s disappearance. The investigation revealed Coleman was acquainted with Anderson and the three had stayed in a home together in Louisville. 

A probable cause affidavit states that Coleman admitted to 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 said Anderson asked her to help put Cairo in a trash bag and then into the suitcase.

The two then drove to an area outside of Pekin where they dumped the suitcase in a wooded area.

The suitcase was discovered by a man searching for mushrooms on April 16, 2022. He opened the distinctive “Las Vegas” imprinted suitcase to make a horrifying discovery.

Coleman’s fingerprint was identified on a black plastic bag containing the child’s body.

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

Anderson remains at large and will be charged with murder when she is located 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.”

Anderson is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law.