A 5-year-old boy found dead inside a suitcase dumped in the Indiana woods was identified Wednesday as officials announced an arrest in the case and said the boy’s mother is wanted on a murder warrant.
Washington County Circuit Court issued felony arrest warrants for Dawn Elaine Coleman and Dejaune Ludie Anderson on charges related to the death of Cairo Ammar Jordan. Anderson is the boy's mother, Indiana State Police said in a news release.
Coleman, 40, of Shreveport, Louisiana, was taken into custody Oct. 19 in San Francisco and will be extradited to Indiana.
Anderson, 37, of Atlanta, remains at large.
They both face charges of neglect of a dependent resulting in death and obstruction of justice. Anderson faces an additional charge of murder.
Authorities traveled to Los Angeles in search of Anderson but did not locate her.
Sgt. Carey Huls said Cairo, of Atlanta, would have turned 6 on Monday.
"We desperately want the public's help in finding her and bringing her to justice," Huls said at a news conference Wednesday afternoon. "This whole case is about justice for Cairo."
A mushroom hunter found the hard-shell Las Vegas-themed suitcase in woods near East Holder Road in Washington County, Indiana, on April 16. Coleman's probable cause affidavit stated that the mushroom hunter opened the suitcase and found a pillow and a black trash bag that contained the body.
The luggage was not covered, and it could be viewed from the road, the affidavit said.
An autopsy report said the child, who at the time had not been identified, died from an electrolyte imbalance likely caused by a stomach virus. No significant traumatic injuries were found.
State police said the boy was clothed and appeared clean. Evidence suggested he died before he was put in the luggage.
Authorities had received hundreds of tips about the child's identity, but they all proved fruitless.
Investigators were eventually able to identify the suspects after fingerprints on the trash bag matched those of Anderson and Coleman, the probable cause affidavit said. From there, investigators learned who the child was.
"Physical evidence led to suspects, and as the investigation continues it all kind of snowballs and expands," Huls told reporters.
He said a missing person report was never filed for the child.
Anderson's last known location was the Echo Park area of Los Angeles. Since the investigation began, she has traveled to San Francisco, San Diego, Las Vegas and Houston, police said.
Huls said in a phone call that Anderson and Coleman were "passing through" Indiana when they are alleged to have left the suitcase.
Anderson has been arrested several times over the past few months, including on March 12, when troopers with the South Carolina Highway Patrol tried to stop her for driving 92 mph in a 60 mph zone, the affidavit said.
She refused to stop and led troopers on a pursuit for about 30 miles until she ran out of gas, the affidavit alleged. It said that Coleman, who Anderson said was her sister, and Cairo were in the vehicle. Anderson was taken to the county jail on charges of child engagement, speeding and failure to stop for blue lights. Coleman and the child were taken to a hotel.
It is not clear when Anderson was released. She was arrested again on March 31 by Louisville, Kentucky, police and accused of trying to steal clothes from a mall.
"When stopped, Anderson became violent and punched the security officer in the face," the affidavit stated.
At the time, Cairo was with Coleman.
Anderson was released April 11, according to the affidavit, and the same day she posted a Facebook message that said, "just got out of a jail mission" and "yes had to do some healing and killing." Cellphone towers placed both suspects in the area where the suitcase was found on April 14, the document said.
Anderson is alleged to have posted other Facebook messages discussing a "demonic force" in her son and talking about hexes and curses.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has been in touch with Cairo's family. They could not be reached Wednesday at phone numbers listed for them.