SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — The case of a Nebraska teen who allegedly helped to conceal the stillbirth of her baby has been transferred to district court where she will be tried as an adult.
According to court documents, Celeste Burgess, 18, of Norfolk, was charged with prohibited acts with skeletal remains, concealing the death of another person, and false reporting after her mother allegedly helped her to have an abortion and then hiding the body in Madison County.
The alleged stillbirth happened in April when Celeste Burgess was 17 years old. She then turned 18 in June.
The documents stated that the State of Nebraska moved to have Celeste Burgess’s case transferred from juvenile court to district court on July 12. The documents cited reasons including Celeste Burgess’s inability to comply with treatment, programs, and services through the juvenile court, Nebraska statutes that do not require a life term for felonies, Burgess’s unlawful motivation for committing the crime, the age at which Burgess was at the time of the incident, it is the best interest of Burgess to be tried as an adult, consideration of public safety, the nature of the offense, the security that Burgess may require which is not available in juvenile court, and the programs that are not available for felony offenses in the juvenile system.
The documents stated that during Celeste Burgess’s hearing on Tuesday, she did not object to transferring the case from juvenile court to district court.
Celeste Burgess is accused of knowingly inducing a miscarriage with the help of her mother, Jessica Burgess. Jessica Burgess also had a hearing on Tuesday in which the documents stated that evidence was presented, arguments were made, and the matter was taken under advisement for a written opinion.
Jessica and Celeste Burgess were assisted by Tanner Barnhill, who pleaded no contest Tuesday to one count of a criminal attempt to conceal the death of another person.
The initial court documents stated that Jessica Burgess gave Celeste Burgess pills that may have caused the premature birth. The documents stated Celeste Burgess was more than 20 weeks pregnant, making it illegal in the state of Nebraska to have or perform an abortion.
Tanner Barnhill allegedly helped Celeste and Jessica Burgess bury the body at his residence between April 22 and the beginning of the Norfolk Police Division‘s investigation on April 26.
After Jessica and Celeste Burgess willingly showed investigators the burial site, an examination of the body determined that the Burgess’s allegedly tried to burn the body before it was buried due to signs of thermal injuries.