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Oct 5, 2017

David Doehm, ‘Tired of Life,’ Found Dead in Princess Hotel Room

There have been nine deaths reported across the country in the span of one week. But the last twenty-four hours have been especially bloody, with four deaths reported – two in Belize City, one in Corozal and another in Roaring Creek, Cayo.  Our top story tonight is the suicide of David Doehm inside a room at the Ramada Princess Hotel and Casino. He was found this afternoon in a room on one of the upper floors facing the pool side next to B.T.L. Park. Police say the fifty-nine-year-old American retiree had a plastic bag over his head with a tube that led from a small Nitrogen tank to the inside of the bag; beside him a hand-written note. Information to News Five is that Doehm checked into the hotel room on Wednesday morning.  This morning, he was visited by his wife, Anke and security at the hotel would last see him alive around eleven a.m. until a cleaner found him dead.  In the note, we are told; he wrote that he was tired of this life. Anke reportedly went back to the hotel after a custody hearing at the family court, but would then learn that he had taken his life. David and Anke were charged with cruelty to a child – specifically, thirteen-year-old Faye Lin Cannon, discovered dead in a rented condo room in north Ambergris Caye on July third, as well as possession of Valium, a controlled substance. They were out on bail and awaiting preliminary inquiry at the Magistrate’s Court. But something went tragically wrong today. Aaron Humes traces the last movements of the Doehms and why their story may have had something to do with David’s sudden end.

 

David Doehm

Aaron Humes Reporting

David and Anke Doehm were scheduled to appear at the Family Court this morning for a hearing on custody of their three remaining adopted children. They were being challenged by the girls’ natural father, David Cannon, for custody. A few hours after the hearing, a world away from their previous residence on Reggae Street in the Southside, David was found apparently dead in his hotel room just before one this afternoon. Police have not confirmed any signs of violence to the body, and the report of a plastic bag found covering his head is not confirmed. Anke Doehm has not been located at this time. It is an unexpected turn in a case that has gripped the country since the discovery of thirteen-year-old Faye Lin Cannon’s battered body in the Grand Caribe rented condo in July. From the start, police on the island suspected murder.

 

Henry Jemmott

Supt. Henry Jemmott, Regional Commander, Coastal Executive Unit [File: July 6th, 2017]

“The cause of the death from the post-mortem is compression on the chest causing internal haemorrhage; asphyxia. So at this time we are treating it as a homicide or murder and we are doing our utmost best to investigate this last incident that has occurred in San Pedro.”

 

Duane Moody

“Now sir, the post mortem has also found that the minor had been physically and sexually abused. Is that right?”

 

Supt. Henry Jemmott

“At this point, I would say yes, but we would not like to speculate. We want to do more investigation into the matter and try to see if this is what actually occurred and to try to get other physical evidence to support that as well.”

 

Shelley Arceo Huber

San Pedro residents spoke to News Five at a protest the following day, explaining that authorities did nothing despite receiving numerous reports.

 

Shelley Arceo Huber, San Pedro Resident [File: July 7th, 2017]

“I saw it and many people saw it. There is the Town Board and Rubi Moon – these people’s gift shop and I saw it and many people saw it.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Did you ever report it?”

 

Shelley Arceo Huber

“I called the American Embassy and they told me that they were going to come. And they never came.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“This is three and a half years ago?”

 

Shelley Arceo Huber

“Three and a half years ago. I called the Human Service from San Pedro and he never came.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Do you feel that the system failed this child?”

 

Shelley Arceo Huber

“The system has failed the entire community because this is not the only child. The abuse and incest in this community is out of control. We want no mercy for these people, but I condemn the authorities for not…doing anything.”

 

Susana Eiley

Susana Eiley, Resident [File: July 7th, 2017]

“I had reported this case three years and half.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“You personally reported it?”

 

Susana Eiley

“I personally reported it.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“To whom?”

 

Susana Eiley

“To Mister Adan Kay.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Who is Mister Adan?”

 

Susana Eiley

“The social worker from San Pedro, ma’am. I always go to his place and I never got a response.”

 

Celi Greif

Celi Greif, Resident [File: July 7th, 2017]

“I was neighbors with them for about two years. The saddest part is that all the concern here is that at least twenty people went to social services to report this. Miss Susana Eiley twice took them. So, it breaks my heart to think that these kids every day I saw them going to school and not knowing the pain they were going through.”

 

Others, including the children’s teachers and a former neighbor from Hawaii, chimed in concerning years of abuse and neglect of all four Cannon children, by now in the care of the Department of Human Services and in contact with natural father David. One week later, however, charges of cruelty to a child, not murder, were brought against the Doehms. Director of Public Prosecutions Cheryl-Lynn Vidal made a rare television appearance to say that while sufficient evidence did not exist at that time for murder, they felt there was sufficient evidence from the postmortem report to prove cruelty to Faye Lin.

 

Cheryl-Lynn Vidal

Cheryl-Lynn Vidal, Director of Public Prosecutions [File: July 13th, 2017]

“We don’t very often see this degree of criminality. The observation section of the postmortem report reads like a horror story and the doctor says, of course with the caveat that we don’t want to try the case here, but that he observed fresh injuries, old injuries and all of them significant injuries. When interviewed under caution, both persons admitted to knowing of injuries being sustained by the victim. We cannot at this stage say that they caused those injuries but they were aware of injuries. And the extent and nature of the injuries I think definitely, in light of the fact that they were the persons responsible for taking care of the child, amount to tremendous neglect on their part.”

 

But after about a week on remand, and despite the heavy objections of residents of both Ambergris Caye and Belize City who protested outside the Supreme Court, they received bail of ten thousand dollars each after Justice Denis Hanomansingh found they were not flight risks.

 

Richard “Dickie” Bradley

Richard “Dickie” Bradley, Attorney for David Doehm [File: July 21st, 2017]

“The arguments to support that ground of objection were not forthcoming. In the affidavit of the police officer which went to something like twenty-eight or twenty-nine paragraphs, was a chronology of him being called by the very accused persons to say that the child appears to be very sick and is not breathing; and so they are just recounting that ‘we went to the house; we met the family members, we saw the child on the bed, she was not breathing; we did this, we called the doctor, we then did that, we did this, we did that…gone on and on for paragraphs but did not tackle the issue that is the sole ground of objection, meaning will these people cut out the moment they get, or as soon as they get an opportunity to leave the country? There was nothing to substantiate that.

 

David Doehm

While told to surrender their travel documents and not attempt to interfere with witnesses in the case, the couple could not outrun the opprobrium of the public. Protestors hounded the pair as they moved to Belize City from the island. Was the result of this morning’s case the final straw for David? Did Anke have a role to play? As police continue their investigations, there remain many more questions than answers. Aaron Humes reporting for News Five.

 

A postmortem is being performed on David Doehm’s body.

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