Missouri Child Advocate looking into deaths of Clay County girls

Posted at 6:44 PM, Jul 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-12 20:41:19-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — There is now another agency looking into the deaths of two Clay County girls — Missouri's Office of Child Advocate.

According to court documents, Jenna Boedecker fell asleep in her car with her two daughters inside —  2-year-old Ireland Ribando and 8-week-old Goodknight Ribando. Both girls died. 

A Missouri Children's Services worker had visited the house the day the girls died after receiving a tip call the day before. He did not make contact with Boedecker or her daughters. He said he saw a car running but didn't see anyone inside. 

Initially, The Missouri Office of Child Advocate say they were not aware of the Ribando case until they received a call from 41 Action News.

The 41 Action News Investigators first told you about this office while covering the death of Adrian Jones.
The office serves as an independent watchdog overseeing protective services. If protective services had involvement with a child who dies, the ombudsman is required to conduct a review of the child's case.

The social service worker that visited Ribando's home on the morning of the Fourth of July is based out of an office at 7000 Liberty Dr. in Liberty.

41 Action News went searching for answers — after Clay County search warrants show a caseworker went to the house of Ireland and Goodknight Ribando hours before the two little girls were found unresponsive.

The office supervisor, Sallie West, declined to speak with 41 Action News.

She referred us to the agency's spokeswoman, Rebecca Woelfel, based out of Jefferson City.

41 Action News called and a receptionist told us the spokesperson was out of the office.

As of Thursday evening, Woelfel has declined to comment.

The Office of the Child Advocate said they complete their reviews within 45 business days.

"However there are times the case is still open with Children’s Division and we will not have access to all the files until their investigation is complete," Kelly Schultz Director of the Office of the Child Advocate told 41 Action News. "There would be parts of the investigation we would be looking at but would not issue our findings until we had access to all the records."