Court documents reveal messages in Nebraska abortion case

Published: Aug. 11, 2022 at 5:32 PM CDT
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NORFOLK, NE (KTIV) - It’s been widely publicized that three people are criminally charged after an alleged abortion in Norfolk, Nebraska.

KTIV has been looking through court documents, which include private messages between a mother and daughter charged in the case.

Prosecutors made their case against Jessica Burgess and her daughter after receiving information from informants that the then 17-year-old had given birth prematurely in April of this year.

After conducting interviews, a Norfolk Police Division detective got the sign off for multiple search warrants. It’s in those search warrants, and further court documents, that we start to gain a deeper understanding of what happened, and when.

Take a look at these Facebook messages, sent on April 20, 2022. Investigators obtained them through a search warrant.

The first message is from the 17 year-old, apparently asking if she could get a medicated abortion started. A few minutes later, Jessica Burgess, the child’s mother, gave instructions on how to take the pills.

Two days later, the fetus was delivered, but no air was found in its lungs on autopsy. After the fetus was delivered, police allege its body was buried on a separate property and burned.

After being confronted by police, investigators say Burgess and her daughter showed police the spot where the fetus was buried. It was then that police realized Facebook messages were involved.

Let’s take a look at the charges Jessica Burgess faces. To remind you, Burgess is the 17 year-old’s mother. She is charged with three felonies and two misdemeanors. The felonies include illegally performing an abortion and concealing a dead body.

The 17 year-old also faces charges, but only one felony. She faces the same charge of concealing / abandoning a dead body. While she was a juvenile at the time, prosecutors charged her as an adult.

The felonies both woman face are Class 4, or the least serious. Both face up to two-years in prison. It’s also important to note the allegations in this case arose before the overturning of Roe vs. Wade.

The fetus in this case is alleged to have been just over 23 weeks old. It’s still legal in Nebraska to have an abortion before 20 weeks.

Jessica Burgess will be on trial starting October 17, 2022, in Madison County.

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