Mother found guilty of second-degree murder after 2 children were left in hot SUV

Published: May. 19, 2023 at 4:44 PM CDT
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CLAY COUNTY, Mo. (KCTV) - A jury found a woman guilty of two counts of second-degree murder for the death of her two young daughters after the children were left inside of a hot vehicle on July 4, 2018.

First responders said that, when they arrived, they found 2-year-old Ireland Ribando and infant Goodknight Ribando had died.

The court allowed a camera in the courtroom but did not allow audio recording Friday. Once the verdict was read, some members of the crowd in the courtroom said, “Yes.” Others begin to cry. Several people left the courtroom overcome with emotion.

The jury found Jenna Boedecker guilty of eight of the nine counts she was facing, including two counts of second-degree murder and four counts of child endangerment related to the children.

She was also found guilty of domestic assault and property damage for a separate incident on July 3, 2018, which stemmed from confrontations with her husband. Boedecker was found not guilty of armed criminal action.

The investigation began on a hot day in 2018 when first responders were called to a home near 92 Highway and Cameron Road near Kearney. Court records state that, at the time, Boedecker told police she put the girls in a Jeep Patriot while she argued with her husband and then fell asleep, leaving the children outside in a hot vehicle.

A hotline call had been made the day before and a children’s division investigator went to the home. However, they said they did not get an answer at the door or see the children in the vehicle. About two and a half hours after the investigator’s visit to the home, Boedecker told investigators she woke and found the girls unresponsive. She took the young girls to a neighbor’s house for help.

The neighbors called 911 and tried to cool the children with wet rags and fans. Emergency crews said that, when they arrived, they found the girls had died.

The jury deliberated for about two and half hours before reaching their verdict.

Court will resume on Monday morning to begin the sentencing phase of the trial.