SALEM, Ind. (AP) — A Louisiana woman charged in the death of a boy whose body was found last year inside a suitcase in rural southern Indiana is seeking a change of venue, arguing that public outrage over the child’s death would prevent her from getting a fair trial.
Dawn Coleman’s attorney, Ryan Bower, filed the venue change request on her behalf Monday. He contends the Shreveport, Louisiana, woman would not receive a fair trial in southern Indiana’s Washington County due to public hostility against her, outrage over the boy’s death and media coverage, WTHR-TV reported.
A hearing is set for June 1 on the change of venue request for Coleman, who was arrested in San Francisco in October in connection with the death of 5-year-old Cairo Ammar Jordan of Atlanta, Georgia. She’s charged with aiding, inducing or causing murder, neglect of a dependent resulting in death and obstruction of justice.
A felony murder arrest warrant was issued in November for Cairo’s mother, DeJaune Ludie Anderson of Atlanta. She remains at large.
Authorities allege that Coleman helped Anderson dispose of Cairo’s body in April 2022. Court documents say that he died in Kentucky and his body was dumped in Indiana.
His body was found inside a hard suitcase emblazoned with a distinctive Las Vegas design that a mushroom hunter discovered in a heavily wooded area off of a dead-end road.
An autopsy found that Cairo died from vomiting and diarrhea that led to dehydration, Indiana State Police said. Investigators said the boy had died within a week prior to his body’s discovery.
He was buried last June at a Salem, Indiana, cemetery about 35 miles (55 kilometers) north of Louisville, Kentucky, after a memorial service where a police chaplain called the then-unidentified child an “unknown angel.”
Authorities released the boy’s name in October after announcing that he been identified and that Anderson and Coleman were suspects in his death.