How Could You? Hall of Shame-Belize-Chinese Adoptee Faye Lin Cannon case-Child Death UPDATED
This will be an archive of heinous actions by those involved in child welfare, foster care and adoption. We forewarn you that these are deeply disturbing stories that may involve sex abuse, murder, kidnapping and other horrendous actions.
From Northern Ambergris Caye, Belize, “the police department informed on Wednesday July 12 that the Director of Public Prosecutions has given a directive that charges be brought against Anke Doehm and David Doehm. They are to be jointly charged with the crime of “Cruelty to a child”. [Um.. why isn’t is murder or manslaughter???] Anke Doehm has been arrested and charged for that crime while David Doehm will be formally arrested and charged on Thursday July 13 when he is brought from the Belize Central Prison on a removal order.
According to the police the crime is to be tried on indictment and carries a sentence of 10 years in prison. Though charges are now forthcoming the police say that the investigation regarding the death of Faye Lin Cannon continues.
For almost an entire week, the American couple, David and Anke Doehm, have been in police custody while they are being investigated for the very questionable death of their 13 year-old adopted daughter, Faye Lin Cannon. A post-mortem says that this little girl was physically and sexually abused.
Police first learned of the death of the child on Monday, July 3, when the husband and wife first called the police to their condominium, located on Northern Ambergris Caye. They told police that their daughter woke up at around 7 o’clock that morning. She reportedly asked for a drink of water, and shortly after that, she went back to bed. Anke Doehm told police that her husband, David, went to check on her about 15 minutes later, and he noticed that she was unresponsive.
She also told the cops that Faye was supposedly mentally ill , and that she had violent episodes where she would allegedly slam herself against the wall. The mother’s account was that for the past 3 weeks, Faye locked herself in her room, and refused to eat. The mother also claimed that about a month or so ago, she was complaining of difficulty breathing.
Contrary to the mother’s statement to police, a post-mortem conducted on Faye’s body indicated that she was physically and sexually abused. Following the results of the post-mortem, investigators detained the husband and wife. Persons within the San Pedro community have strongly insisted that Faye Lin showed absolutely no signs of any mental illness that her mother reported to police.
Background checks into the family’s history reveals that they moved to Belize about 3 years ago. Faye Lin Cannon is one of 4 children that the couple adopted from different parts of China. Residents on the island claim that the children’s behavior always gave them cause for concern because they were very timid and quiet.
Faye Lin’s death became a national news story, and shortly after that, residents of San Pedro started protesting. The island is upset that an innocent child is dead, and in the aftermath, they lashed out at the Ministry of Human Development for what they perceived as a lack of effort to protect these 4 children. They complained bitterly that the Social Worker assigned to San Pedro and Caye Caulker did not do enough to protect Faye Lin’s life. They say that they complained several times to the social worker of warning signs that these 4 adopted children were being mistreated, but the social worker did not do enough to investigate their complaints.
The Ministry of Human Development, which is usually very quiet in handling sensitive cases involving children, released a statement, confirming that they did receive a report. The Ministry, however, did not have any reasonable grounds to take custody of the children.
In a press released sent on Monday, July 10, the Ministry said, “Departmental records show that in 2014, there was a report of improper supervision and inadequate parenting whereby the Cannon children were being exposed to the elements. A joint investigation was conducted along with the Police Department, where the parents, children and school officials were interviewed. The allegation was substantiated, however, there were no disclosures or indicators of any other forms of physical or sexual abuse at that time. As such, the Department created a plan with the parents for the proper supervision of the children. The plan was monitored for adherence and the case was later closed when it was deemed that the parents had been compliant. Since then, the Department’s records show no other reports being made of neglect or abuse of these children.”
In the meantime, police have been carefully examining the lives of this family to try and determine if there is enough evidence to bring criminal charges against the parents for Faye’s death. Police have confirmed that FBI agents have been providing them assistance in trying to investigate the case.
Since the family members are US nationals, the US Embassy in Belize has been contacted by the Belizean authorities, and the Ministry of Human Development has been working jointly with the Embassy to keep the children in protective custody at this time. The Human Development Ministry successfully made an application before the San Pedro Magistrate to be granted custody.
Superintendent Henry Jemmoth, the Officer Commanding to Police Coastal Executive Unit, told the press, “The children will be interviewed by a specialist to see if they can get any evidence out of them… Also because of the nature of what had happened, we are trying not to exhaust the kids, because remember they are young and we don’t want to exhaust them with this investigation… So we have to be very careful how we do it.”
Both parents were arraigned on Monday on a single charge of drug possession for a few grams of valium. Police found them in their home after an extended search was conducted. It is illegal to have these drugs without a prescription, and David Doehm accepted responsibility for the pills. He explained to the sitting magistrate that he did not know that he was breaking the law because he went to his doctor, who gave him the pills. He says that he trusted the doctor who said that his prescription from 2014 and 2015, was adequate enough for him legally use the drugs. He pleaded guilty and was fined $185 to be paid forthwith. He couldn’t and so he was sent to the Belize Central Prison.
Even though Anke Doehm was freed of the charge, she was re-detained for suspicion of another offense. Police then had 48 hours to investigate her further, and now they have come up with charges against her.”
REFORM Puzzle Pieces
Update: ““The observation section of the post mortem report reads like a horror story. The doctor observed fresh injuries, old injuries and all significant injuries.”
At this stage of the investigations it cannot be determined if the Doehms where the one who inflicted those injuries to Faye Lin, but they were aware of injuries, according to Vidal. She also stated the the Doehms did not take Faye to a medial doctor to address the illness they claim she had. Instead they decided to administer Valium to her and perform some Japanese healing technique on her.
“The extent and nature of the injuries and in light of the fact that they were the persons responsible to take care of this child, amount to tremendous neglect on their part,” stated Vidal.
The Doehms are to report back to court back in San Pedro on August 24 in San Pedro Town. Faye Lin’s father David Cannon is looking into obtaining custody of the siblings.”
[Amber Gris Today 7/13/17 by Dorian Nunez]
Update 2: “American national 59-year-old David Doehm was found dead in a hotel room in Belize City of an apparent suicide. Doehm had been out on a $10,000 Supreme Court bail for the charge of ‘Cruelty to a Child’ in connection with the death of his stepdaughter 13-year-old Faye Lin Cannon. His body was apparently discovered by a housekeeper on Thursday, October 5th around 12:30PM. No foul play was suspected and police told the media that Doehm had committed suicide.
According to police, Doehm was lying on the bed with a bag covering his head. The bag was connected by a tube to a small nitrogen tank. His body was taken to the morgue, where a post-mortem examination was done on Tuesday, October 10th concluding that the cause of death was due to ‘Chemical Asphyxiation’ by inhalation of volatile substance. Nitrogen is a gas that can cause death by a method known as nitrogen asphyxiation. After Doehm sealed his head in the airtight bag he apparently pumped the nitrogen gas in to it, depriving his body of oxygen and causing his death. Police reported that he had checked in alone into the hotel and also said that they found a note beside the body. At first police did not disclose the contents of the ‘suicidal note,’ but then a day later part of the alleged three-page note was leaked to the press.
Reading: ‘I am here to end my own life. By my own hand and without the assistance or knowledge of anyone else. The method I chose, oxygen replacement by nitrogen gas appeals to me in huge part due to its being innocuous. Nitrogen is the major component gas in our atmosphere, but in the absence of oxygen it can asphyxiate the inhaler without the trauma of C02, build up. And the lack of mess appeals to me since I shy away from imposing the consequences of my actions on the poor people who have to deal with a suicide and the clean- up.
I find my situation odd. Here I am in a casino. Having zero interest in going and gambling. But it reminds me of Arthur Koestler’s suicide note which remarked that suicide is a gamble and the outcome of which is known to the gambler only in the event of failure. Koestler’s case was a little different than mind. While I only have mild medical issues… Periodic hypertensive emergencies constant serious joint pain, skin cancer etc. Poor Koestler was losing his mind through Parkinsons and feared being able to take his own life if he waited too long. But perhaps it is not that different.
In my case, the Damocles sword over my head is not a mind destroying disease, but a witch hunt conducted by the Government of Belize,…’
Doehm leaves his wife, Anke, to face the trial for the same charge of ‘Cruelty to a Child’ in relation to Faye’s death. The couple became the prime suspects in the girl’s death after she was reportedly found dead in her bedroom on July 3rd at a condominium complex in northern Ambergris Caye. Faye’s death was first ruled out as natural cause, but after a post-mortem examination was conducted, it was revealed that she had been physically and sexually abused. The results also suggested that she had been severely beaten on the chest area, which broke three of her ribs, one which pierced her heart. Immediately after, police detained the Doehms while Faye’s three other sisters were put under the care of Belize’s Department of Human Services.
Between July 6th and July 10th, the Doehms remained detained at the San Pedro Police Station, but were unexpectedly transported to the Belize Central Prison on the 11th. It was during this time that both were charged for the offence of Cruelty to a Child. A week later, both were granted a Supreme Court bail, while the murder investigation on Faye’s death continued. This led to protests in San Pedro Town, denouncing the judiciary system claiming it had failed Faye. Protesters also insisted that they had made numerous reports to the police, over a period of time about the alleged abuses Faye and her sisters were going through, but no one did anything. The local authorities on the island said that only one report was made and that upon an inspection made by police, everything seemed to be fine.
When bail was granted, both David and Anke were ordered to report to the Queen Street Police Station in Belize City every Monday until the case was resolved. The forensic evidence regarding Faye’s abuse was to be ready by October 20th, but now that David is dead, no further indications have been given by police as to what will happen with such evidence.
In the meantime, Faye’s adoptive father, David Cannon has been in Belize since the news broke of her death. He has been trying to obtain custody of the other three girls, but as it stands, Anke has custody of them. On Thursday, October 5th, the Department of Human Services was at the Family Court seeking further protective care of the girls. The Department can only keep the girls for an estimated period of time before returning them back to the parents, but given the fact that the case is far from concluded, the Family Court granted the Department further protective care until further notice.
Cannon has organized a memorial service in the memory of Faye Lin for Saturday, October 14th at the San Pedro Lions Club. The services will be held between 11AM and 2PM. There will be food and refreshments, and everyone is invited to attend.”
[San Pedro Sun 10/11/17]