Boedecker Sentenced 58 Years for Death of Her Two Children

Clay County Sheriff's Department booking photo of Boedecker

August 3, 2023 – Jenna Boedecker, a 34-year-old mother from rural Clay County, has been sentenced to 58 years in the Missouri Department of Corrections for the death of her two children. Goodknight Beretta June Ribando, an infant, and 2-year-old Ireland Autumn Jane Ribando who both died as a result of hyperthermia. The verdict was delivered by Judge Shane T. Alexander in Division 1 of the Clay County Courthouse.

The judge’s decision closely mirrored the recommendations made by the Clay County jury in May. The tragic incident occurred on July 4, 2018, at the family’s home in the 15600 block of Cameron Road near the intersection of Missouri Highway 92 and Cameron Road. Boedecker appeared at a neighbor’s door with her lifeless children asking for help. The neighbor attempted to help by cooling the children with water, wet rags, and fans and calling 911.

According to records, earlier that same day, a social worker from the Missouri Children’s Division had visited Boedecker’s home in response to a hotline call made the previous night. The social worker reported an SUV parked in the driveway but didn’t notice anyone inside.

Upon investigation, authorities discovered that the night before the children’s deaths, there was a dispute between Boedecker and her husband, during which she accused him of infidelity. She later informed the police that after the argument, she and the children were locked out of the house and spent the night sleeping in her Jeep Patriot. The following morning, she said she found the children unresponsive.

Boedecker was arrested and charged months later as the sheriff’s department turned over the case to experienced criminal investigators who pieced together the evidence. During the five-day trial, prosecutors presented testimonies from witnesses, including neighbors, portraying Boedecker as a criminally negligent mother with a history of drug abuse.

Boedecker was found guilty on multiple counts, including two counts of murder in the second degree, four counts of endangering the welfare of a child in the first degree, one count of domestic assault in the fourth degree, and one count of property damage in the second degree.

Prosecuting Attorney Zachary Thompson expressed his sorrow for the tragedy, stating, “Any crime against a child is especially tragic, but that tragedy is magnified when the crime is committed by the person those children should have been able to trust most in this world. The essential responsibility of any parent is to try their very best to keep their children safe from harm. This defendant failed fundamentally in that duty.”

Boedecker’s actions led to the loss of innocent lives, and the court, accepting the jury’s recommendation, imposed a severe sentence. The sentencing includes 22 years on Count I and Count II, 7 years on Count III and Count IV, 1 year on Count V and Count VI, 6 months on Count VII, and 3 months on Count IX. Counts I to IV will run consecutively.

The case has been an emotional and challenging journey for the families involved and the community at large. Clay County Prosecuting Attorney Thompson acknowledged the lack of winners in such a situation, noting that no court decision can ever bring back the children lost in this tragedy.

He further stated, “But we hope today’s decision can help the family and everyone impacted to find closure. We understand that for some people, it can feel like the wheels of the criminal justice system turn too slowly, but I can assure you that in Clay County, the wheels turn steadily toward justice.”

As the criminal justice system delivers its verdict, the memory of the young lives lost will continue to linger in the hearts of those affected, while the community strives to heal and find strength in unity.

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