PEKIN, Ind. — Maroon and gold leaves crunch under Jeff Meredith's feet as he walks down a dead-end road in Pekin, Indiana.
"It's a good day," he said.
His words contrast his sentiments six months ago, when the leaves on the ground were just forming buds on bare trees.
On April 16, Meredith was out late foraging for mushrooms and found a bright blue suitcase breaking up a sea of beige-green of early spring. Inside, he found the body of a 5-year-old boy.
Meredith spent six months fearing he would never learn that boy's name. On Wednesday, Indiana State Police held a press conference where they revealed his identity: Cairo Ammar Jordan.
"Thank the Lord," he said.
The name brings a first step towards closure in a crime that never should have happened.
"I just wish he was taken care of properly before this happened," Meredith said. "Before they threw him away. Boy, that still bothers me that somebody would have the audacity to throw somebody else away like they're a piece of trash."
The trash bag was actually the key piece of evidence in solving the crime.
Forensic scientists found two fingerprints belonging to Dawn Coleman and Dejaune Anderson. ISP says Anderson is Cairo's mother, she has not been arrested but has a warrant out for murder in connection to his death.
But for Meredith, Cairo Jordan was all that mattered.
As he walked towards the spot where he found Cairo, WHAS11's Tom Lally reminded him of what he said in April: "I'm never going down there again."
He said today felt different. For the first time, Meredith was comfortable enough to show the exact spot where he found Cairo.
"See those two trees right there," he said. "Straight in between those two trees."
About 80 feet in off the road, a small white flag waved between the fallen foliage. Meredith pointed to the symbol of surrender, as the stress he carried for these six months finally released.
"It's the weight of the world off my shoulder," he said. "When I first saw that little feller's face, it was like he was screaming 'help' to me. The only help I know to get is to call 911, and I did."
More than anything, Jeff expressed gratitude to the Indiana State Troopers, their sleepless nights, and the answers they were finally able to provide.
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