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‘Remorseless Monster’ Sentenced for Brutal Murder of Toddler She Kept ‘Locked in a Dog Kennel’

Jacqulyn A. Kirkpatrick

Jacqulyn A. Kirkpatrick

A state judge in Kansas on Monday sentenced a woman to spend more than three decades behind bars after she admitted to killing her boyfriend’s 3-year-old daughter.

District Court Judge Michael A. Russell sentenced Jacqulyn A. Kirkpatrick to serve 376 months (31 years and 3 months) in prison for her role in the brutal murder of Olivia Jansen, who was beaten to death and left in a shallow grave last year, Wichita NBC affiliate KSN-TV reported.

Olivia Jansen, Kansas City Police Department

Kirkpatrick, 35, last month reached a deal with prosecutors in the Wyandotte County District Attorney’s Office and pleaded guilty to one count each of second-degree murder and abuse of a child under the age of six. She also pleaded guilty to two counts of interfering with law enforcement.

Under the terms of her deal, Kirkpatrick will receive credit for the 528 days already served and be required to testify against Olivia’s father, Howard Jansen III. Kirkpatrick’s former boyfriend, Jansen is still awaiting trial on charges of first-degree murder, aggravated endangering of a child under 18, and criminal desecration of a dead body. His trial has not yet been scheduled.

Howard Jansen III and Jacqulyn Kirkpatrick via KSHB-TV

Howard Jansen III and Jacqulyn Kirkpatrick via KSHB-TV screengrab

Prosecutors have alleged that Kirkpatrick and Jansen falsely reported Olivia missing on July 10, 2020 in an effort to trigger an AMBER Alert. Jansen reportedly called 911 at approximately 8:30 a.m. and told a dispatcher that he woke up two hours earlier to find Oliva missing and the back door of his house on Gibbs Road had been left wide open.

An AMBER Alert was issued for Olivia shortly after Jansen reported the child missing, but it was called off that evening when authorities found Olivia’s body buried in a shallow grave less than a mile from Jansen’s home.

Investigators said an anonymous tip led them to the young girl’s grave site in a wooded area near Steele Road. She was reportedly buried in her pajamas and had “severe bruising” on her face, arms, and legs, as well as lacerations on the back of her head, all of which appeared to be indicative of physical abuse.

An autopsy performed by the county medical examiner’s office determined Olivia’s death to be a homicide caused by a severe brain bleed. Kirkpatrick and Jansen were taken into custody shortly after Olivia’s body was discovered.

During Kirkpatrick’s plea hearing, prosecutors repeatedly claimed that she and Jansen physically and mentally abused Olivia on a regular basis. Kirkpatrick allegedly kept Olivia “locked in a dog kennel at her home” and would force her to stand in the corner of a room for multiple hours without sitting, prosecutors said. Other children who lived in the home also reportedly told investigators that Kirkpatrick would often push Olivia’s head into the wall.

Several members of Olivia’s family reportedly read emotional victim impact statements during Monday’s proceeding with one describing Kirkpatrick as a “selfish, cold-hearted, remorseless monster,” according to a report from KCTV.

Multiple family members also reportedly called out the Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF), saying the agency failed Olivia when she was most in need.

Elisabeth Jansen, Howard’s mother and Olivia’s grandmother, on June 22, 2020 contacted DCF to report allegations that Olivia’s caregivers were abusing drugs. An agent spoke to Olivia on June 30 and on July 7, her father tested positive for THC, but the agency said there wasn’t sufficient evidence for authorities to take Olivia out of his custody.

Elisabeth Jansen said she made the report because she was worried about her son’s bad temper in addition to his drug use.

“I mean, if I’m saying that I think my grandchild is, that I’m scared for my grandchild, you’re going to video call and that’s all?” she said.

Another family member had discussed having friction with Jansen III. Olivia’s grandmother Vickey Saindon told KMBC she had last seen the toddler in February just after Valentine’s Day that year.

“That’s when her dad took her and wouldn’t let me see her no more,” she said.

DCF initially balked at releasing the case summary and records, but they have now put out the summary because they determined Olivia’s death was due to child abuse. The full case file, including the report on the investigation into Olivia’s death, has not been released to the public.

[image via Wyandotte County Detention Center]

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.