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KCK 3-year-old found dead had 'severe bruising,' signs of abuse

Jacqulyn Kirkpatrick and Howard Jansen III
Posted at 2:01 PM, Jul 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-27 18:32:14-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Olivia Jansen, the 3-year-old Kansas City, Kansas, girl who was found dead hours after her father reported her missing on July 10, had “severe bruising” on her face and other apparent injuries that indicated significant abuse, according to new court documents obtained Monday.

An autopsy revealed the toddler had a cut on the back of her head and significant bleeding on the back of her brain, which was determined to be her cause of death. She also had bruises covering her arms and legs.

Olivia’s father, 29-year-old Howard Jansen III, and Jansen’s girlfriend, 33-year-old Jacqulyn Kirkpatrick, face charges of first-degree murder, aggravated endangering of a child and criminal desecration in connection with her death.

According to a heavily redacted affidavit filed in Wyandotte County, Jansen reported his daughter’s disappearance around 8:30 a.m. on July 10 by walking into the Kansas City, Kansas, Police Department’s Midtown Patrol Division. Kirkpatrick, identified in court documents as Jansen’s girlfriend, accompanied him to the police station.

Jansen told investigators he had seen Olivia sleeping on a couch around 6 p.m. the night before.

That time differs from the one provided by authorities who issued an Amber Alert for Olivia on July 10. In the alert, Jansen was said to have seen his daughter later in the evening, around 11 p.m.

Police said at the time that investigators had found various inconsistencies in stories from people who were interviewed during the time she was presumed missing.

On July 10, officers searched two residences connected with Olivia. According to the court records, police responded to a trail near the 3600 block of Steele Road after a person had reportedly been seen there that morning. Olivia’s body was found in a shallow grave nearby.

The 3-year-old had “severe bruising” on her face, according to records, and other visible injuries that indicated “great physical abuse.”

The portions of the affidavits for Jansen and Kirkpatrick that were released to 41 Action News on Monday do not indicate what led police to take them into custody.

In an interview with 41 Action News earlier this month, Olivia's grandparents said they were concerned about what was going on at home.

"The baby was always so unhappy to go home," Olivia's grandmother, Elisabeth Jansen, said in an interview July 12. "She would frown and say, 'You love me? You're not mad at me? I come back? I come back?' And I told her, 'I will hurt anybody that keeps you away from me.'"

Sunflower House, a child abuse prevention center, says paying attention to the signs is crucial, no matter how old the child is.

"The first thing is you need to remain calm and listen to that child and convey to them that you believe them," Sunflower House CEO Michelle Herman said.

Child abuse can affect a child's behavior in a variety of ways.

"Obviously children are going to be distraught; there might be changes in their behavior, personality," Herman said. "It can cause so many psychological and emotional problems, so any indication they're not doing okay."

Both Jansen and Kirkpatrick remain jailed in Wyandotte County on bonds of $500,000 each.

For jurisdictions that utilize the Greater Kansas City Crime Stoppers Tips Hotline, anonymous tips can be made by calling 816-474-TIPS (8477), submitting the tip online or through the free mobile app at P3Tips.com.

Annual homicide details and data for the Kansas City area are available through the 41 Action News Homicide Tracker, which was launched in 2015.