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A Kansas woman has received a three-decade sentence for her role in the abuse and murder of her boyfriend's toddler in July 2020.
Jacqulyn Kirkpatrick, 35, received her sentence of just over 31 years in prison on Monday in Wyandotte County, Kansas after pleading guilty on Nov. 4 to one count of second-degree murder, one count of the abuse of a child under the age of six and two counts of interference with the police, according to Wichita NBC affiliate KSN. As part of the plea, she'll have to testify against the child's father.
Kirkpatrick and her boyfriend, Howard Jansen III, were charged in relation to the 2020 death of Jansen's 3-year-old daughter, Olivia Jansen. The father reported his daughter missing on July 10, 2020, initially telling police that he'd woken up at 5:30 a.m. on Friday to find the back door open and his daughter missing, reported the Kansas City Star.
That story, police said later, changed repeatedly over the course of the day, reported Kansas City CBS affiliate KCTV.
"We have had several stories throughout the day," Officer T.J. Tomasic said at a press conference after the arrests. "None of them made very much sense."
Olivia Jansen's body, brusied and clad in pajamas, was found in a nearby shallow grave the same evening, reported KSN. The coroner determined that she died of a brain hemorrhage sometimes on Jul. 9 or 10, according to charging documents in the case.
Prosecutors alleged at Kirkpatrick's plea hearing that she kept Olivia Jansen locked in a dog kennel at the home, or forced her to stand without moving in a corner for extended periods of time, KSN reported. Other children in the home told law enforcement that they'd often witnessed Kirkpatrick shoving the small child by the back of the head, including into walls.
Olivia Jansen's mother was in prison on unrelated charges at the time of her daughter's murder, according to KCTV, but both her maternal and paternal grandparents had attempted to intervene in what they termed the ongoing abuse of their granddaughter before she was killed by calling the Kansas Department for Children and Families.
"I just wish whenever we called DCF they would have done something about it," her maternal grandmother Vickey Saindon told Kansas City Fox affiliate WDAF last year. "Because we’ve called them and KCK police to do welfare checks on that child."
Saindon told several news outlets that Howard Jansen III had refused to let her see her grandchild since Valentine's Day 2020.
"I want them to pay for what they did to her," Howard Jansen III's stepmother, Elisabeth Jansen, told Kansas City ABC affiliate KMBC. "This has been going on for months and it didn't have to."
"Torture, torture, they kept her from us," Howard Jansen II, the accused's father, told the station, echoing Saidon. "We called DCF."
"We knew it was bad but we didn't know what we are learning now," he added.
The DCF has yet to release its records on Olivia Jansen or any investigation they did after receiving calls from her grandparents, according to KCTV, citing the ongoing criminal case against her father.
The trial for Howard Jansen III, who has the name "Olivia" tattooed above his left eyebrow, has yet to be scheduled.
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