NORFOLK, NEBRASKA — Jessica Burgess is the mother of Celeste Burgess who allegedly helped her six-month-pregnant daughter perform an abortion, according to a search warrant affidavit.
According to the document, on April 22, the 17-year-old Celeste supposedly gave birth to a stillborn baby in a shower sometime after midnight. Her due date had previously been July 3.
According to the document, Celeste told police she tried to call her mother to wake her up when it happened. She eventually went downstairs to tell her.
Celeste then allegedly placed the fetus in a bag and then into a box in the back of a cargo van.
The affidavit said the mother and daughter drove the fetus to a property north of Norfolk and buried it, but it does not specify when this happened. They allegedly got help from 22-year-old Tanner Barnhill, as the property belonged to his parents in Madison County.
The investigation began when Norfolk police received a tip that Celeste had miscarried and buried the baby with the help of her mother.
On April 29, Jessica and Celeste allegedly showed a Norfolk detective where they buried the fetus. Barnhill also arrived on the scene and confirmed the location. He also told officers that Celeste and Jessica attempted to burn the fetus before burying it.
That same day, Madison County Sheriff's Office deputies helped at the scene, and documented that the fetus appeared to have thermal injuries.
During those weeks of investigation, the detective was said to have discovered Facebook messages between Celeste and Jessica about abortion pills on April 20, just two days before the stillbirth occurred.
According to court documents, messages between Celeste and Jessica discussed how to use the abortion pills and Celeste stated she couldn't wait to get the "thing" out of her body.
Both Jessica and Celeste now face charges of concealing the death of another person, false information and a felony charge for human skeletal remains.
Jessica has two additional felony charges, performing or attempting abortion at more than 20 weeks and performing an abortion as a non-licensed doctor. These charges were added on later by the Madison County Attorney.
Both the mother and daughter have pleaded not guilty and are awaiting trial.
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