KANSAS CITY, Ks. — The Kansas City, Kansas, community gathered outside the Wyandotte County Courthouse for the third night in a row, refusing to let go of Olivia Jansen’s case and perceived failures to keep her safe.
Those who gathered are angry, because they say this all could’ve been prevented. A and if it had, Olivia — a carefree, always smiling, happy-go-lucky 3-year-old girl — would still be alive.
She was found dead Friday after an hours-long search when her father, Howard Jansen III, reported Olivia missing. Her father and his girlfriend, Jacqulyn Kirkpatrick, have been arrested and charged with Olivia's murder.
In response to her death, some of the community’s youngest members are stepping to the forefront in the fight for justice for Olivia and change in her name.
“If we are going to do this, let’s do it,” Mindy Cartwright, who knew Olivia and her family, said at Tuesday's rally. “Let’s hold everybody accountable that failed her, because the system failed that little girl.”
Cartwright and others say it was no secret Olivia was living in an unsafe environment, but those concerns fell on deaf ears despite the fact that KCK police had visited Olivia's home five times in 2020 alone, including once for a welfare check and once for a juvenile abuse call.
Authorities love to tell the public, "If you see something, say something," but Cartwright and others outraged about Olivia's case say it didn't matter.
"People said something," Cartwright said. "Nobody did anything."
Now, outraged at Olivia's death, the protesters are demanding change from the system meant to protect her, while asking for transparency.
"All I could think about was what if that was me? I would want everyone to come together for me,” Cartwright said. “Again, when does it stop? When do they actually listen? What are they doing?”
Friends and family also hope Olivia will be remebered for the happy little girl she always was.
“Those eyes, those cheeks, (they) just lit up,” Cartwright said. “When I say full of life ... (she was) full of life.”
Olivia loved the movie ‘Frozen’ and her favorite color was yellow, which is why you may see dozens of yellow ribbons tied to lamp posts in downtown KCK.