The American couple are “persons of interest” in the killing of a 13-year-old child in their care, Fay Lin Cannon
BELIZE CITY, Thurs. July 13, 2017–An American couple, David Doehm, 56, and his wife Anke Doehm, 56, both residents of San Pedro, appeared in front of Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith, along with their attorneys, to be arraigned on a charge of cruelty to a child.
The couple was remanded to prison after a submission by Director of Public Prosecutions Cheryl-Lynn Vidal, S.C., who objected to the court granting the couple bail on the grounds that they are flight risks.
When the hearing began, and Chief Magistrate Smith asked Anke Doehm how she was pleading, DPP Vidal rose to inform the court that the case is a very serious one and will be heard on indictment. So no plea was taken from the two.
The allegation against the two is that between January 1, 2017 and July 3, 2017, they endangered the welfare of Faye Lin Cannon, 13.
Cannon was found dead on Monday, July 3, and the Doehms are persons of interest in the police’s investigation of her murder.
In objecting to bail, DPP Vidal told the court that David Doehm, a permanent resident of Belize, is unemployed. He worked part-time for Tropic Air on San Pedro and was recently laid off his job. The DPP told the court that his financial status is uncertain, because since he arrived in the country in 2012, he has only filed income tax for one year, 2016.
It was revealed today that the adoptive father of the children, David Cannon, a former husband of Anke Doehm, had been providing US $5,400 per month for the care of the children.
He came to Belize in response to the murder of his child, and is said to be working with the authorities to offer what help he can and to offer support to Faye Lin’s three remaining sisters.
DPP Vidal explained that the charge against David Doehm is a very serious one which carries a prison term of 10 years, and that he is also a suspect in the killing of the victim. “Because he is a suspect in those serious offences, that makes him a flight risk, and he should be remanded,” the DPP told the court.
Attorney Dickie Bradley, who is representing David Doehm, told the court that he is merely a suspect.
“Your Honor, you have the authority to order him to surrender his passport. You can order him to report to the police station. Five years ago, they opened their own business and it is still operating. The charge is a very serious one and arose out of the concerns of the citizens of that community, but it is an allegation and he is entitled to his freedom. He is a permanent resident of Belize,” Bradley submitted.
DPP Vidal informed the court that Anke Doehm is the main suspect in the murder investigation of the victim.
Attorney Ellis Arnold, S.C., who is representing Anke Doehm, explained to the court that the police now have what he referred to as “holding charges. The aim is to charge you for murder, and so they bring other charges. They were brought to Belize City and held for another 48 hours until they can find the evidence for murder. It is being played out; I say, it is wrong, wrong. If they are being faced with holding charges, then the court has a duty to grant bail.”
Arnold said his client is not a flight risk. She has sufficient ties to the country, he argued. Arnold said he spoke to Anke and the first thing that she said is that her kids are here and she wishes to be with them. He said that there are means that the court can adopt that will make a person have to stay in Belize. “I urge Your Honor to look at all the circumstances. Her kids are here and she is prepared to surrender her passport. I urge you to grant bail,” Arnold submitted.
“If Your Honor was to look at the fact sheet, you will see that it is a very disturbing set of circumstances,” DPP Vidal told the court.
“I have held US passports and the US Embassy has called me and asked me to surrender the passports to them, because it is the property of the US government,” Chief Magistrate Smith explained.
She denied both accused persons bail and the court has set August 24 as the date when disclosure of the evidence will be given to the two accused. If not complete disclosure, then at least partial disclosure will be given on that date.
The court has also set October 5 as the date when it will hold the preliminary inquiry, in San Pedro.
(Please see related story “Faye Lin’s adoptive mother and husband charged with cruelty to a child” on page 2)