A family in Kansas City is demanding answers in the murder of a 3-year-old girl. Olivia Jansen was allegedly killed by her father and his girlfriend last month. Now, as those two face charges, Jansen’s grandparents are alleging them of having a long history abuse. Furthermore, the family is demanding the release of Child Services reports that may document a pattern of incidents leading up to the tragedy.
The Case of Olivia Jansen
Jansen had been staying with her father Howard Jansen III and his girlfriend, Jacqulyn Kirkpatrick, when she went missing on July 10. KCTV reports that Olivia’s mother is currently in jail for unrelated charges.
That Friday morning, Howard walked into the KCK Police Department and filed a missing person report, triggering an AMBER Alert.
According to police, Howard told them he hadn’t seen Olivia since 11 pm the previous night, when he went to sleep. He claimed that he woke up at 5:30 the next morning to find his front door open and his daughter missing.
Later in the day, a tip led police to a spot near a hiking trail, where they found Olivia’s body.
“I observed broken sticks and branches on top of the shallow grave,” a detective said, according to KCTV news. “I could see like 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.”
By the end of July 10, police had arrested Howard, followed by Kirkpatrick the next morning. Each suspect now faces charges of first-degree murder, aggravated child endangerment, and criminal desecration, according to Fox 4 news. Authorities are holding both suspects on $500,000 bail.
Olivia’s grandparents said they immediately suspected the pair, alleging a pattern of abuse leading up to the murder.
“[Howard] quit talking to me in February and told me I would never see my granddaughter again,” maternal grandmother Vicky Saindon said to KCTV.
Meanwhile, paternal step-grandmother Elisabeth Jansen told the outlet that she had previously reported the pair both to police and to the Department of Children and Families (DCF). These revelations led to an outcry from both Olivia’s family and the public for the agency to release documents on claims involving Olivia.
On July 31, DCF released a summary of select claims that revealed shocking abuse allegations. One report from February alleged that Howard hit Olivia on the leg hard enough to bruise her and possibly break the bone. Another report from the very same day accused Kirkpatrick of hitting the girl.
In June, the summary said, the Kansas Protection Report Center received allegations of substance abuse by Howard and Kirkpatrick. Howard ended up testing positive for THC, but the case remains open with no findings logged.
Fox 4 also reports that police were called to the Jansen’s residents five times for abuse and welfare checks.
A Family Demands Answers
For Olivia’s family, these details only prompted more questions about DCF’s handling of the situation. Her grandfather, Howard Jansen II, is now calling for the release of the agency’s entire file on Olivia.
“It goes back to the transparency. I mean, nobody talks to me,” the grandparent said.
Currently, Olivia’s DCF file remains under wraps while Judge Michael Russel reviews it for potential release. However, court proceedings have revealed that it contains 533 pages — a large amount for such a young child, Fox 4 notes.
Both the defense and the prosecution in the case have objected to the file’s release. Each side has expressed concerns about how it could affect the outcome of the trial. However, Olivia’s grandfather feels that revealing the truth is more important.
“My deal is I don’t see the objection. Because I feel if it’s the truth, how does the truth getting out hurt anything?” he said. “The powers that be need to start showing people that justice will be served. Hiding things, I don’t believe is the way to do it.”
Fox 4 reports that Judge Russel hopes to come to a decision on releasing the file within two weeks from Wednesday, August 26.
Olivia Jansen — Sources
Fox 4 News – “Family fighting to find answers to what happened weeks leading to 3-year-old Olivia Jansen’s death”
Fox 4 News – “Father and girlfriend charged in death of 3-year-old Olivia Jansen in Wyandotte County”
Fox 4 News – “Kansas’ child welfare agency releases public reports involving killed 3-year-old Olivia Jansen”