Two people are behind bars in connection with the alleged murder of a 3-year-old Kansas girl, and family members say the child’s death could have been prevented if social services would have stepped in sooner.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Howard Jansen III, identified as the father of 3-year-old Olivia Jansen, was arrested on Friday night and initially charged with suspicion of first-degree murder and child abuse. On Saturday, police arrested his girlfriend, Jacqulyn Kirkpatrick. She was also initially charged with suspicion of first-degree murder and child abuse.
Authorities found Olivia deceased on Friday evening after Jansen walked to the police station earlier that morning to report her missing. Investigators found the child’s body in a wooded area by a walking trail only nine blocks from her Kansas City home.
Kansas City PD spokesperson Tom Tomasic said on Friday that authorities heard “several stories throughout the day” about Olivia’s disappearance but “none of them made sense.” The initial story Jansen told police was that he woke up at around 5:30 a.m. to find Olivia missing. Jansen said one of the doors in the home had been opened.
According to Wyandotte County District Attorney Mark Dupree, the community helped investigators find the child, but Olivia’s grandfather, Howard Jansen II, said that he asked for help through the Department of Children and Families prior to death.
“Torture, torture, they kept her from us … we called DCF … we knew it was bad but we didn’t know what we are learning now,” Jansen said, according to ABC 9.
Olivia’s grandmother, Elisabeth Jansen, told KSHB 41 that they last saw the child in March. Olivia reportedly didn’t want to go home and wanted her grandparents’ assurance that she could come back to see them.
“She was always so unhappy to go home. She would frown and say, ‘You love me? You’re not mad at me? I come back? I come back?’ [sic] and I told her, ‘I will hurt anybody who that keeps you away from me.'”
Elisabeth added that although they contacted DCF, no one removed Olivia from her father’s care. Olivia’s biological mother is currently incarcerated on unrelated charges.
“They wouldn’t do anything other than knock at the door–and so I was on the phone with them June 22 for 23 minutes telling them everything I could think of to tell them, and then they sent me an email on Thursday that I can send them more stuff but for me to know they wouldn’t be contacting me.”
It’s unclear how long Olivia had been deceased before authorities found her on Friday evening. An autopsy is currently underway to determine the cause of death.
Since the arrests, authorities have upgraded the charges against the suspects. They’re now facing charges of first-degree murder, aggravated child endangerment, and unauthorized control of a dead body.
Both suspects remain behind bars at the Wyandotte County Detention Center.
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[Feature Photo: Olivia Jansen/Handout]