NORFOLK, Neb. (KCAU) — A woman who allegedly helped to conceal the death of a stillborn has been charged with providing an abortion for the teen mother in Nebraska.
According to court documents, Jessica Burgess, 41, of Norfolk, who was originally charged with tampering with human skeletal remains, concealing the death of another person, and false information, has been additionally charged on Wednesday with providing an abortion after at least 20 weeks gestation by someone other than a licensed physician.
According to court documents, the additional charges resulted from Burgess’ attempt to induce an abortion upon a 17-year-old who had been at 20 or more weeks along. She was also charged with performing the abortion without a license to do so. Nebraska law states that an abortion is not allowed 20 weeks or more after fertilization unless meeting certain exceptions.
Authorities obtained a search warrant of electronic communication of involved parties on June 16. The warrant stated that it is believed that Burgess may have given the teen pills that were intended to cause a miscarriage on April 20. The teen was believed to have prematurely given birth to the stillborn on April 22 and Burgess allegedly helped the teen take the body to a private property and bury it. It was also stated that Tanner Barnhill, 21, of Norfolk helped the two with the burial. The Norfolk Police Division began their investigation a few days later, on April 26.
Burgess and the teen willingly showed law enforcement where the fetus was buried, according to the documents, and the exhumation process began. The examination of the body led officials to believe that Burgess and the teen had allegedly attempted to burn the body before burying it because the body had thermal injuries.
All of Burgess’s charges include prohibited acts with human skeletal remains, concealing the death of another person, providing false information, abortion after 20 weeks, and abortion by someone other than a licensed physician.
A release from the Norfolk Police Division on June 1 stated that the teen was issued citations for concealing the death of another person and false reporting. Barnhill was issued a citation for concealing the death of another person.
Burgess appeared in Madison County Court Monday afternoon for a preliminary hearing. There, the state entered evidence and provided testimony from a detective. Burgess was released on a personal recognizance bond of $10,000.