Saturday, May 25, 2024

David Doehm’s death ruled suicide


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.

David Doehm

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.

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