An eyewitness is credited for leading authorities to a wooded walking trail in Kansas, where 3-year-old Olivia Jansen was found buried in a shallow grave on Friday.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Olivia’s father, Howard Jansen III, and his girlfriend, Jacqulyn Kirkpatrick, have both been arrested in connection with Olivia’s death.
Authorities found Olivia’s deceased body on Friday evening after Jansen walked to the police station at around 8:30 a.m. that morning to report her missing. Jansens claimed he woke up at around 5:30 a.m. and discovered an open door in the home and no signs of Olivia. In another story, Jansen reportedly claimed he last the child at around 11 p.m. on Thursday night.
On Friday afternoon, investigators found the child’s body in a wooded area by a walking trail only nine blocks from her Kansas City home.
An autistic eyewitness who was out doing yard work on Friday morning spotted a silver SUV parked by the walking trail off of near 34th Street and Steele Road on Friday morning at around 7:45 a.m. The eyewitness didn’t know how to report the incident but told another neighbor what he saw after he spotted what appeared to be the same SUV on the news, Fox 59 reports.
The eyewitness told the neighbor he saw the SUV in the area for around 10 minutes before “two people got in and took off and peeled off down the street.”
“I said, well you need to go call the TIPS line or something, and he was like, ‘I don’t know how to go about that,’” the neighbor said. “So I said, ‘I will take care of it.’ So that’s when I went directly to the police barriers they had up on South 42nd and Gibbs, and I told an officer and they took it from there.”
Authorities found the little girl buried in a shallow grave with bruising on her face. Although the official autopsy results have not yet been released, Fox 59 reports that she may have been beaten.
Meanwhile, Olivia’s grandparents told ABC 9 that just weeks before the little girl’s death, they called the police and asked for a welfare check after seeing a concerning post on Kirkpatrick’s Facebook page.
“They said they went up there. They knocked on the door, and there was no answer. So that’s all they could do. So I have to call DCF. And I’m crying to him, ‘That’s all?'” Olivia’s grandmother, Elisabeth Jansen, said.
Jansen said she did contact DCF but it didn’t do much good.
“Two days later, we get that email saying that they were going to put an investigator on it and I could send more information, but otherwise, I wouldn’t be contacted,” Jansen said.
Around two weeks later, Olivia was found dead.
“We knew he [Howard Jansen III] was out of sorts, you know? But you just don’t want to believe that your own son can do that to their own child,” Jansen added.
Olivia was living with her father in Kirkpatrick’s home at the time of her death. Her biological mother has been behind bars on unrelated charges and did not have custody of Olivia at the time.
Elisabeth Jansen told KSHB 41 that they last saw Olivia in March. The child 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.’”
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]