KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A memorial for 3-year-old Olivia Jansen in Kansas City, Kansas, is moving forward, and now it will have a few more faces you might recognize.
One of them, 7-year-old Adrian Jones, who’s grandmother, Judy Conway, said she loves the project.
“I think it’s a great tribute to all these children,” Conway said.
Children from the metro and across the United States who have died from abuse will be featured in a new mural. That includes an angelic Olivia Jansen, a smiling reminder of what was lost.
In July 2020, Olivia was reported missing by her father, Howard Jansen III. Kansas City, Kansas, police found Olivia’s body in a shallow grave covered by sticks and dirt.
Court records say she was badly injured and it would have been apparent to anyone that saw her that she suffered great physical abuse. Her face, arms and legs were all covered in bruises.
Jansen III and his girlfriend, Jacqulyn Kirkpatrick, each face charges of first-degree murder, aggravated endangering a child and criminal desecration of a body. They remain in jail awaiting trial.
“They all need to have a voice, and they need to be remembered,” mural organizer and artist Ciemantha Kosechata said.
Kosechata started the mural about a month ago. Originally it was going to be on a different building, but it was moved to another with much more space to honor more children. Adrian Jones, Pamela Butler, and Brian Edgar are all from the Kansas City area.
Ten-year old Pamela was kidnapped when she was roller-skating outside her KCK home in 1999. Keith Nelson, a neighbor, pulled her into his pickup truck.
He was arrested two days later and, eventually, confessed to strangling and sexually assaulting the girl. Nelson was executed by the State of Kansas in August 2020. Butler’s mother witnessed his execution.
Nine-year-old Brian Edgar was killed by his parents, Neil and Christy Edgar, and babysitter, 20-year-old Chastity Boyd, in 2002. The Edgars led God’s Creation Outreach Ministry in Olathe, and at trial witnesses say Christy Edgar told parishioners God told her how to punish children in the congregation.
Investigators say Brian was punished for allegedly stealing cookies by being wrapped head-to-toe in duct tape. He suffocated and died from the abuse. All three were convicted of first-degree murder in 2003.
“It’s an emotional thing, and it is heart wrenching, and it’s something – it’s the most incredible thing I’ve ever been a part of in my life. Its only because of their loss that we’re able to come together as a community and do something good to try and prevent something like this from happening again,” Kosechata said.
Adrian was murdered in 2015 at the hands of his father and stepmother from years of torture. Investigators said Adrian died in a shower stall where he was held prisoner, beaten and starved. His body was then fed to the family’s pigs.
In 2107, FOX4 investigated DCF for failures that allowed abuse against the young boy to continue.
For the past five years, Conway fought for approval of Adrian’s Law. The bill required anyone who lives with a child to report abuse to authorities when they suspect or see it. Conway said a family member lived in the Jones’ home for a year while Adrian was abused and said nothing to DFS or police.
In May, Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly signed it into law.
“It was a long battle, a long fight, you know. There were people that opposed it. I just stood steadfast and said, you know what? This needs to be a law in Kansas,” Conway said.
Conway said there’s talk of making Adrian’s Law a federal law, which she would wholeheartedly support. While Kelly signed it into law in Kansas in May, Conway said they are planning to have a ceremonial singing in KCK sometime in the near future.
She said the message of the mural gets to the heart of Adrian’s law.
“I think this mural is just going to be awesome,” Conway said. “I think it’s going to be a constant reminder to people that these children lost their lives, and they lost it in the most horrific way. We just need to be vigilant, and we need to have things in place, and laws in place, like Adrian’s law.”
Kosechata calls it the “Speak Up Mural” and hopes it’s message helps kids in need in the community.
“I hope they feel a charge to speak up. To speak up for the kids that don’t have a voice. Across the top it will say, ‘Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves.’ Every one of these children couldn’t speak for themselves because if they could advocate for themselves, they would probably be alive,” Kosechata said.
Kosechata said they still need donations of white paint to help mix colors, and any artist who wants to help can stop by 8th and Kansas to participate.
If you want to get in touch, reach out to Ciemantha Kosechata at 816-457-5017. Any donations for the project can be taken to LA Hardware in KCK at 631 Kansas Ave.