KEARNEY, Mo. – The mother of two young girls who died on July Fourth after they were found outside a northwest Missouri home told police she fell asleep in a running car and found them not breathing when she woke up, according to newly released court records.
Applications for search warrants in the case against Jenna Boedecker, 29, of Kearney also indicate a social worker from the Missouri Children's Division in Clay County was at the family's residence less than three hours before Boedecker's daughters were found dead by emergency responders.
Clay County deputies who were called to the home on July Fourth found 2-year-old Ireland Autumn Jane Ribando and infant Goodknight Beretta June Ribando dead. The Clay County Sheriff's Office initially didn't suspect foul play but later asked criminal investigators to help with the case. Authorities have not said how the girls died but have ruled out water, road or firearms causes.
Boedecker has not been charged in the girls' deaths. She is jailed on charges stemming from an alleged altercation with her husband the night before the girls were discovered.
Boedecker told authorities after she argued with her husband, she was locked out of the home and didn't have her key, according to one search warrant affidavit. She said she took the girls into the family Jeep and fell asleep with them. In a second search warrant affidavit, Boedecker told detectives she put the girls in the Jeep so they wouldn't hear her arguing with her husband and then briefly dozed off.
Boedecker said when she woke up, she tried to revive the girls with water and eventually took them to the home of a neighbor, who called 911. They tried to cool the girls with wet rags and fans but were unsuccessful, the affidavit said.
Before that call, social worker JaQuan Humphrey went to the home in response to a call to make an assessment at the home. Humphrey told police he noticed the car was running but didn't approach because "he did not want someone thinking he could have been prowling around cars out in a rural area," according to police.
After getting no response to several knocks on the door, he walked past the car and didn't see anyone inside, according to the affidavit, but he acknowledged he wouldn't have seen children in the back seat or an adult in the front if they were slumped over.
Boedecker faces three felony charges stemming from the alleged altercation with her husband, Joseph Ribando. He told police Boedecker threw a brick toward his vehicle and then rammed it with the Jeep before he left the home. Ribando told police he thought the children were inside the home when he left.
Boedecker has pleaded not guilty. On Monday, a judge rejected her request to have her bond lowered so she could attend the girls' funerals. Online court records do not name an attorney for Boedecker.