A man has been sentenced to 29 years in prison for killing his 3-year-old daughter in a case that drew attention to the agency responsible for overseeing young children in Kansas.
Howard Jansen III pleaded guilty last month to second-degree murder, child abuse and several other charges in the death of Olivia Ann Jansen, KMBC reports. He was sentenced Friday to 348 months in prison.
An Amber Alert was issued for the Kansas City, Kansas, girl in July 2020 after her father reported that he awoke to find her gone and a door open. Investigators searched with all-terrain vehicles, drones and dogs before finding her body in a shallow grave in a wooded area about a mile away.
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Court records show the girl had signs of physical abuse.
Jansen’s then-girlfriend, Jacqulyn Kirkpatrick, was sentenced in December to over 31 years. She pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, child abuse and interference with law enforcement.
Olivia’s death led to calls for changes at the Kansas Department of Children and Families. Information previously released by the agency shows it received two reports of alleged physical abuse involving Olivia in February 2020. One report alleged Olivia’s father hit her on the leg, leaving a bruise and possibly breaking the limb. The other report alleged Kilpatrick hit the girl. Both were ruled unsubstantiated after a person who alleged the abuse recanted.
The girl also was visited by a caseworker over a video call 11 days before she was found dead, the Associated Press reported. That investigation stemmed from a hotline report from someone worried that her caregiver was unavailable or unable to care for her and may be using drugs.
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Child welfare officials also have acknowledged that they received repeated reports about a 2-year-old Wichita boy before he was found dead in a motel of a methadone overdose in May 2019. A 3-year-old Wichita boy’s body was found encased in concrete in 2017 after relatives repeatedly reported abuse. In the Kansas City area, a 7-year-old boy was tortured, starved, killed and fed to pigs in 2015 despite extensive involvement with welfare officials.