ROELAND PARK, Mo. — A metro woman is selling signs to show support for the 3-year-old who prosecutors said died at the hand of her dad and his girlfriend. Her death motivated a stranger to begin a movement in her memory.
Tragic, depressing, disturbing — those are some of the words Erica McNease used to describe Olivia’s death.
“I had to do something with my grief because that’s what it was. I felt sick and I felt depressed about it. You know I cried a lot,” McNease said.
She turned those tears into action creating yard signs that say, ‘Kansas City ❤️ Olivia Jansen’.
“Her last breaths,” McNease said. “I don’t know if she knew that people loved her.”
On June 10, Olivia’s father, Howard Jansen III reported her missing. Searchers later found Olivia’s body buried in a wooded area of Kansas City, Kansas, not far from her home.
Howard Jansen and his girlfriend Jacqulyn Kirkpatrick face charges of murder and child abuse.
“It just struck a cord. It really broke my heart because I see Olivia in my own daughter,” McNease said.
McNease doesn’t know the Jansen family, but couldn’t help think of Olivia as her own baby girl.
That’s why she’s selling these signs for $20 and donating what’s left after the cost of the sign to CASA of Wyandotte/Johnson County.
“Anytime a member of out community recognizes the issue of abuse and neglect and is looking for a way to give back that is always heartening our organization,” CASA of Johnson & Wyandotte Counties Executive Director Amy Boydston said.
CASA stands for court Appointed Special Advocates. This non-profit recruits, trains and supports volunteers who support kids who’ve suffered abuse, neglect or other trauma.
“We will make change in her name,” McNease said.
McNease plans to have a pick up event at St. Agnes Catholic Church in Roeland Park on Aug. 17.
She said these signs are just the beginning.
“I don’t want this to happen to anymore kids,” McNease said.
She’s working to create signs that spell out child abuse prevention and offer children, like Olivia, a way out of abusive situations.