SELLERSBURG, Ind. (WXIN) – A months-long mystery involving a young boy found dead inside a suitcase in southern Indiana has been solved.
Indiana State Police revealed Wednesday that they’ve identified the child as 5-year-old Cairo Ammar Jordan, of Atlanta.
Police said one person, 40-year-old Dawn Elaine Coleman, of Louisiana, was arrested in San Francisco in connection with the case. The boy’s mother, identified as 37-year-old Dejuane Ludie Anderson, of Georgia, remains at large. Attempts to locate her have been unsuccessful so far.
Both were wanted on charges of neglect of a dependent and obstruction of justice, with the warrants being issued on Oct. 14. A subsequent murder warrant for Anderson was issued on Oct. 25, according to Sgt. Carey Huls with Indiana State Police.
Huls described the announcement as a “bittersweet day,” with investigators relieved they’re moving toward resolution in the case while also lamenting the death of the 5-year-old.
“It’s a bittersweet day. Nothing’s going to change that Cairo isn’t with us, but we’re thankful for the information that we do have,” said Indiana State Police Sgt. Carey Huls.
Anderson was last known to be in the Echo Park area of Los Angeles, California. She has also been to Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco, Huls said. Anderson remains at large.
Indiana State Police have coordinated with several other agencies, including authorities in California and Georgia, as they’ve worked to piece together what happened. The case also utilized federal resources.
“We desperately want help finding her. This whole case is about justice. That’s the whole thing this case has ever been about,” said Huls.
Huls said physical evidence led them to identify the suspects as well as the 5-year-old Cairo, who would have turned 6 on Monday. Fingerprints found on a garbage bag inside the suitcase allegedly belonged to the two suspects.
The case had baffled investigators since April 16, 2022, when a mushroom hunter in a heavily wooded area of Washington County came across a suitcase containing the body of a young boy.
The mushroom hunter called 911, kicking off the months-long investigation. The suitcase had a prominent Las Vegas logo on it, and investigators went through several missing person cases in an attempt to find a match.
Cairo had never been reported missing and wasn’t in a national database, police said.
Indiana State Police had previously said the body was that of a Black child who was approximately 5 years old with a slim build and short hair. In May, an autopsy found he died due to “electrolyte imbalance” most likely from a “viral gastroenteritis.”
There was a lack of significant traumatic injuries and no “anatomical cause of death,” according to the autopsy report. Toxicology results came back negative.
ISP received thousands of tips after setting up a hotline to generate leads about the child’s identity.
Mourners gathered in June for a memorial service in memory of the then-unnamed child, whom they called “Angel.” He was buried at Crown Hill Cemetery in Salem with a marker bearing the image of an angel and the inscription, “In loving memory of a beloved little boy known but to God. Asleep in the arms of Jesus.”
The affidavit doesn’t provide an exact motive for the death, but the mother allegedly sent a series of strange Facebook messages about her son being possessed by a demon, exorcism and dark magic in the days before the child was found.
Anderson was arrested for a shoplifting incident in Louisville in march before being released in April, just days before the body was discovered.
“You know this investigation has a lot of twists and turns and a lot of information,” said Huls. “That’s still just the tip of the iceberg. There’s a lot of information in this case.”
Coleman is expected to be returned to Indiana in the next couple of weeks.