KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A woman accused of killing 3-year-old Olivia Jansen pleaded guilty Wednesday in Wyandotte County court. Jacquelyn Kirkpatrick is the girlfriend of the girl’s father Howard Jansen III. Kirkpatrick pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, abuse of a child under the age of six, and two counts of interference with law enforcement.
According to the prosecutor, in July of last year, Kirkpatrick and Howard Jansen falsely reported Olivia missing, in order to trigger an Amber Alert.
When police found the body of the 3-year-old in a wooded area near South 34th Street and Steele Road, the prosecutor says Olivia was dressed in pajamas and had severe bruising on her face. An autopsy later determined that the child had suffered a brain bleed. Other children in the home reportedly told detectives that Kirkpatrick pushed the back of Olivia’s head, sometimes against a wall.
The prosecutor also says Kirkpatrick kept the little girl locked in a dog kennel at her home, and forced her to stand in a corner for extended periods of time.
Judge Mike Russell ejected one spectator from the courtroom after the man couldn’t control his outbursts while hearing details of the crime. Relatives declined to comment about the plea following the hearing.
In exchange for the guilty plea, Kirkpatrick must testify in the upcoming trial for Olivia’s father.
Kirkpatrick is expected to be sentenced to 31 years and four months behind bars as part of this deal. Her sentencing hearing is scheduled for Dec. 20.