Olivia Ann Jansen's grandparents say they tried to get help for the 3-year-old

By KC Baker
July 14, 2020 06:02 PM
Olivia Jansen
Kansas City Police Department

A 3-year-old Kansas girl allegedly killed by her father and his girlfriend worried her grandparents when she told them she didn’t want to go back home after visiting them, local news outlets report.

"She was always so unhappy to go home," Olivia Ann Jansen's step-grandmother, Elisabeth Jansen, told local station KSHB. “She would frown and say, 'You love me? You’re not mad at me? I come back? I come back?'"

Elisabeth Jansen said she and the child's grandfather tried to get help for Olivia.

But their worst fears were realized on Friday when they learned the child had been found dead after she allegedly went missing.

At 8:30 a.m. Friday, her father, Howard Jansen III, 29, walked into Kansas City, Kansas, Police Department Headquarters to report his daughter missing from their home in the 4400 block of Gibbs Road, the KSKPD said in a release.

He allegedly told police that he woke up at 5:30 a.m., realized she wasn't at home, and found the front door open, local station KMBC News reports.

An Amber alert was immediately issued for the child as local police and other agencies used drones and K9s to search for her.

Jansen allegedly called his father and stepmother to let them know Olivia was missing.

He was "just screaming, 'The baby is gone! The baby is gone!'" Howard Jansen II told local station KSHB.

The search was called off hours later when officers said they’d found the little girl’s remains partially hidden in a wooded area in the 3400 block of Steele Road shortly after 5:30 p.m., the department said in a release.

“This is not the outcome we wanted, in fact, it is the worst outcome," the KSKPD wrote in a Facebook post.

On Friday night, police arrested Jansen and booked him into the Wyandotte County Detention Center on a 48-hour hold, pending charges of first-degree murder and abuse of a child, the KSKPD said in a statement.

Howard Jansen III
Kansas City Police Department

On Sunday morning, Jansen’s girlfriend, Jacqulyn Kirkpatrick, 33, was arrested and booked on suspicion of first-degree murder and abuse of a child, say police.

Jacqulyn Kirkpatrick
Kansas City Police Department

That night, Wyandotte County District Attorney Mark Dupree announced that Jansen and Kirkpatrick had both been charged with first-degree murder, aggravated child endangerment and criminal desecration of a corpse, the KSKPD said in the statement.

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As authorities continue to investigate, the toddler’s grandparents are grieving her death, and they said they tried to reach out to the Kansas Department for Children and Families for help prior to her death, the KSHB reports.

"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," Elisabeth Jansen told KSHB. "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."

"They kept her from us," Olivia's grandfather told KMBC. "We called DCF … we knew it was bad but we didn't know what we are learning now."

Elisabeth Jensen told KSHB: "I'm glad it's first-degree murder, wish it was capital murder, but I wish it could be more. I want them to pay for what they did to her. This has been going on for months and it didn't have to."

In a statement addressing the child's death, DCF Secretary Laura Howard said, "The Kansas City community should know that DCF has a comprehensive process for review of critical incidents in order to quickly identify any agency or contractor policy or procedural issue that needs to be addressed," KSHB reports.

It is unclear whether Jansen and Kirkpatrick have entered pleas or whether they have retained attorneys who can speak on their behalf.