Trial Begins for Anke Doehm Accused of Cruelty to Belizean Foster Child

Trial Begins for Anke Doehm Accused of Cruelty to Belizean Foster Child

Anke Doehm is a 63-year-old American national who is on trial for cruelty to a child in San Pedro Town.  Doehm was to be facing trial jointly with her husband, David, but he committed suicide before the trial began.  Today, in the Belize High Court, before the newly appointed judge, Derick Sylvester, Doehm denied being cruel to the child, and said that she never did anything to harm the child, 13-year-old, Fay Lin Cannon.  The child was under the foster care of the Doehm couple and had reportedly suffered sexual abuse, child neglect, and cruelty back in 2017. 

The prosecution alleges that the foster mom, Anke Doehm, between January 1, 2017, and July 3, 2017, willfully neglected her in a manner likely to cause injury to her health.  In today’s court hearing, both the defense and the prosecution addressed the jurors.  In the prosecution presentation, the DPP showed photos of a fragile child with bruises to the body which was mostly skin and bones.  The DPP furthered her statement, saying that a medical doctor had confirmed that Fay-Lin was malnourished and that prior to her death, the child was ill and was not taken to the doctor.  During the trial, one of the key witnesses was the child’s sister who told the court that she had witnessed the foster father stomping the child in the chest, and the mother doing nothing to stop it. 

The DPP noted that the post-mortem results showed that the child died from compression of the chest, the injury compromised her heart and lungs.  In defence, Doehm’s attorney, Adolph Lucas Sr., urged the jurors to ignore the prosecution’s statements.  He asked that they acquit Doehm as there is no substantive evidence of cruelty.  The trial began on February 20.  Justice Sylvester has deferred the summing up of the case for Monday, March 4, 2024.

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