The Kansas Department for Children and Families says it is not releasing records concerning the late Olivia Jansen, 3 — at least not yet. The department told The Associated Press in a July 27 email that the information is not public because the agency has not yet finished its investigation into whether the little girl died because of abuse or neglect.
The agency would start by releasing a summary; it would then start the procedure to release the records more fully, said spokesman Mike Deines.
If and when the records are publicized, they could cast more light on the girl’s life leading up to her death in July. Prosecutors argue it’s not just abuse, but murder; they say the victim’s father, Howard Jansen III, and his girlfriend, Jacqulyn Kirkpatrick, are responsible.
The case began as a search for a missing girl in Kansas City, Kan., on July 10. Jansen III allegedly claimed that he woke up to find Olivia wasn’t at home. The back door of their residence was open, according to his account. Investigators immediately became worried because of the girl’s age. A search ended in tragedy the same day. The girl’s body was discovered along Interstate 635.
“I observed broken sticks and branches on top of the shallow grave,” a detective wrote in an affidavit recently obtained by KCTV. “I could see light blue and pink clothing protruding from the dirt as well as a small portion of a Caucasian child’s face and hair. The victim was dressed in pajamas and her body had been placed in a fetal position. The victim had severe bruising all over her face.”
An autopsy revealed Olivia sustained bruising to her arms and legs and a cut to her head. The cause of death was bleeding on the brain.
Early on, the girl’s maternal grandmother reported friction with Howard Jansen. She said she had last seen Olivia in February.
“That’s when her dad took her and wouldn’t let me see her no more,” Vickey Saindon told KMBC.
Olivia’s family says they knew she was in trouble leading up to her death.
“I was concerned because I knew they did drugs heavily,” step-grandmother Elisabeth Jansen said (according to WDAF). “I knew that she would be around the drugs. I knew there would be people looking for them because they owed money.”
Police were called to the girl’s home five times before her death. DCF was also contacted. Elizabeth Jansen, the girl’s step-grandmother, had also claimed Howard Jansen III had a bad temper. She called police on June 19 claiming Kirkpatrick made a disturbing Facebook post.
“I said, ‘This woman is taking care of my grandchild,’ and I said, ‘She has put on Facebook that she wants to end her life.’ [ . . . ] And I said, ‘I haven’t seen the child for months so I’m scared. I don’t know what to do.'”
The defendants are charged with first-degree murder, endangering a child, and desecration of a corpse.
[Image via Kansas City, Kan. Police Department]
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