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Anke Doehm, 63, is sentenced to 5 years for child cruelty to Faye Lin Cannon

Posted: Wednesday, April 17, 2024. 1:51 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: 63-year-old American national Anke Doehm, originally of San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye, was sentenced to serve five years of a maximum of 14 years imprisonment on a conviction of child cruelty.

Doehm was accused of malnourishing, neglecting, and condoning the physical and sexual assault of Faye Lin Cannon, 13, whom she adopted, before she died in 2017.

High Court Justice Derick Sylvester and a jury found Doehm guilty on March 4. The five-year term takes effect from then, less eight days on remand in 2017. The court also directed that she enroll in all available rehabilitation programs while at the Belize Central Prison and must serve at least 2 ½ years before being eligible for parole. 

An emotional Doehm, represented by former judge and Senior Counsel Adolph Lucas Sr, seemed confused and shocked at learning her fate. Director of Public Prosecutions Senior Counsel Cheryl-Lynn Vidal prosecuted.

The court found that a two-year sentence which seemed to be the standard did not reflect the seriousness of this offense once considering all the aggravating and mitigating factors, the former in his view outweighing the latter. 

The judge found that Doehm appeared to show no remorse and is unable to accept liability for her actions; that she violated her position of trust and care in relation to Cannon by neglected to provide regular and properly balanced meals, leaving her suffering from malnutrition, and appeared to turn a blind eye to alleged physical abuse of Cannon by the late David Doehm, who committed suicide.

The court also found that Doehm was in need of psychological help and in her current condition must be considered a danger to society and particularly children, hence his call for rehabilitation. 

Cannon’s biological father David and a sister each gave victim impact statements in which they mourned her loss. According to David Cannon, he has lost valuable time and a chance to see Faye Lin grow and reach certain milestones, and to this day he still doesn’t know why. Her sister said she felt it was her fault and she now wonders what could have been for Faye Lin, who would have turned 20 last December. 

The court noted that Doehm has been diagnosed with blood cancer since 2018 and has been receiving treatment since 2017, though no report was provided to the court. That will be the responsibility of the Central Prison as Doehm was scheduled to return to Cancun for follow-up treatment.

 

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