KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A Kansas City, Kansas neighborhood is sharing in a family’s grief.
A Saturday night prayer vigil has brought crowds of people to 34th and Steele, in the city’s Argentine neighborhood, where a makeshift memorial has been made to honor 3-year-old Olivia Jansen. It sits near the area where the little girl’s body was found.
The flow of traffic down Woodland Avenue can’t compare to the flow of this community’s anguish. People went to the memorial site on Saturday morning, leaving expressions of love and empathy for Janzen’s loved ones.
On Friday, police found Jansen’s body near that site, ending an extensive search that began on Friday morning, one that began when Jansen’s family told KCK Police the little girl was missing when they woke up that morning. An Amber Alert was issued, stemming the widespread search.
Howard Janzen, 29, Olivia’s father, was arrested for suspicion of the child’s murder. On Saturday morning, Jacqueline Kirkpatrick, 33, Jansen’s girlfriend, was also arrested. As of Saturday evening, neither have been charged with a crime by Wyandotte County prosecutors.
“Do to him what he did to my grandchild,” Vicki Sandon, Olivia’s grandmother said. “Put him under the bars where he can’t get out. It’s the death penalty, as far as I’m concerned.”
“I hope they pay for what they did. I hope they can’t sleep,” Misty Ruiz, who said she’s a friend of the family, said. “It’s heartbreaking knowing that little girl didn’t have a chance in life. It’s heartbreaking. I don’t know what else to say.”
Ruiz was one of many tearful faces who came to pay their respects on Saturday. The memorial for Olvia Jansen includes stuffed animals, balloons and expressions of faith and hope. Kerry Kinkead, who lives nearby, sad she’s praying prosecutors will find justice for the departed child.
“I was certainly hoping she’d wandered off, gotten up before her folks and wandered out the back door kind of thing, but as the day wore on, we lost a little more hope every hour,” Kinkead said.