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Family members charged in death of Olivia Jansen

Posted at 7:11 PM, Jul 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-12 22:18:14-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Two of Olivia Jansen's family members have been charged in connection with the 3-year-old's death.

Howard Jansen III, 29, Olivia's father, and 33-year old Jacqulyn Kirkpatrick, Olivia's stepmother, face the charges of first-degree murder, aggravated endangering a child‬ and ‪criminal desecration.‬

Jansen and Kirkpatrick currently are at the Wyandotte County Detention Center with a $500,000 cash bond.

Olivia was reported missing early Friday, and what were believed to be her remains were found hours later in a wooded area in Kansas City, Kansas.

Jansen and Kirkpatrick had been on a 48-hour holdin the Wyandotte County Detention Center, facing potential charges of first-degree murder and abuse of a child.

Wyandotte County District Attorney Mark Dupree said during a press conference on Sunday that the community and police response played a part in finding Olivia's body and filing the charges quickly.

"This is a very difficult time and there is nothing that I could say to ease the pain of what you're going through," Dupree said. "There's nothing that we can conjure up to take away the feeling that you're feeling. You can do everything right and still something so bad and so wrong happens."

The Kansas Department for Children and Families issued a statement Sunday from DCF Secretary Laura Howard regarding Olivia’s death.

“My heart aches for Olivia, her family and the Kansas City community,” Howard said in the statement. “The death of a child is a tragedy. I know there is strong community interest in this case, and I understand the desire for more information.”

Howard also said 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.” DCF, according to Howard, is working with law enforcement and will provide additional information “in accordance with state statute.”

“My focus for the last 18 months has been on creating a strong child welfare system that protects children and supports families,” Howard said. “Olivia’s death reinforces my and my agency’s commitment to continue this vital work.”

The FBI, Kansas Bureau of Investigations and Kansas City, Kansas, police department collaborated in the investigation. The investigation is ongoing, and Dupree said there is no evidence to indicate that others were involved.