The father of 3-year-old Olivia Jansen was arrested last week on suspicion of first-degree murder and child abuse, while officials revealed that she suffered abuse before her death, according to an affidavit.
Online records from the Wyandotte County Jail revealed that Howard Jansen, 29, was arrested. Jansen and girlfriend Jacqulyn Kirkpatrick each face first-degree murder, aggravated endangering a child, and other charges, according to FOX4 in Kansas City.
According to a probable cause affidavit, the girl’s body was covered with bruises and she died of a brain bleed, as reported by The Associated Press.
The girl’s grandparents told AP that they had raised concerns about the child’s safety with the state’s child protective services agency.
But the agency told the outlet that state records are not open to the public because it hasn’t completed its investigation.
Court papers said that Jansen told police in Kansas City, Kansas, that Olivia had disappeared earlier this month. He said she was sleeping on a couch at 6 p.m. the night before. Investigators said the last time he’d seen the girl was 11 p.m. when he went to sleep. An AMBER Alert was issued for the child.
Investigators searched for several days before they discovered her body in a shallow grave covered by sticks and dirt. Authorities said she was found covered in bruises.
Olivia’s maternal grandmother, Vicky Saindon, told KCTV5 that family members suspected her father and girlfriend were at fault.
“He quit talking to me in February and told me I would never see my granddaughter again,” she said. “I’ve called the cops. I’ve called DCF,” paternal step-grandmother Elisabeth Jansen told the outlet.
Jansen told KSHB 41 that she last saw the child in March, saying the girl didn’t want to go home and wanted her grandparents’ assurance that she could come back.
“She was always so unhappy to go home. She would frown and say, ‘You love me? You’re not mad at me? I come back? I come back?’ [sic] and I told her, ‘I will hurt anybody who that keeps you away from me,’” she said.
She said that they contacted child services but no one removed the child from her father’s care.