HUXLEY, Ia. – A Huxley woman deliberately killed her two newborn girls not long after giving birth last week and left them in the trunk of her vehicle, authorities said today.
Jackie Burkle (Jail photo)
Jackie Burkle, 22, was arrested Tuesday afternoon and charged with two counts of first-degree murder. If convicted, she will spend the rest of her life in prison.
Burkle admitted killing the children, police said in a criminal complaint. Authorities would not say how the babies died.
“The defendant further admitted that she intended to end their lives and was not at any time intending that they would live,” Huxley Police Chief Mark Pote wrote.
Investigators said they believe Burkle killed the twin girls around 7:30 a.m. Friday. Police went to Burkle’s apartment at 514 N. Main Ave. the next morning after a co-worker told authorities Burkle had appeared pregnant at work on Thursday, but did not look pregnant Saturday. Authorities haven’t said where Burkle works.
After receiving the tip, officers spoke with Burkle, who agreed to go to the hospital for a blood test, which showed she had recently been pregnant, according to the complaint.
During a second interview, Burkle told investigators where she had put the two bodies, and police found the twins dead in the trunk. Burkle admitted to the crime during a subsequent conversation, police said.
The state medical examiner’s office performed autopsies Monday, but will not release final results until pending laboratory tests that could take four to six weeks.
Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation Special Agent Mike Motsinger declined Tuesday night to say how far along in pregnancy Burkle was, exactly when she gave birth, or what else she told authorities during interviews.
Investigators also refused to say whether they believed Burkle was alone that morning, citing an ongoing investigation.
Burkle remained in the Story County Jail in Nevada on a $500,000 bond tonight.
Family, friends and neighbors of Burkle either could not be reached or refused to comment.
A large hand-lettered sign on the front door of the two-story brick duplex where she lives admonished, “Private Property. If this were your family, you wouldn’t want you here either. Please respect our privacy.”
Iowa has a “safe haven” law that grants immunity from prosecution to parents who leave unwanted babies up to 14 days old in the care of health facilities.
It was spurred by the death of a child who became known as “Baby Chelsea.”
Nicole Plum, a Chelsea teenager, spent three years in prison after abandoning her infant girl in the snow near the city’s water tower, where the baby was found dead in February 2001.
Plum, who was 17 when she gave birth, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for felony child endangerment and involuntary manslaughter.
She was granted parole in 2005.
Burkle is expected to appear in court Wednesday.