Charges were filed after [olice obtained Facebook messaages betwen the mother and daughter
Jessica Burgess, 41, allegedly helped her daughter Celeste Burgess, 18, recieve an abortion in April without the help of a licensed doctor, as KMEG-TV and the Lincoln Journal Star reported on Monday. The birth allegedly took place at about the 23 week mark, in violation of Nebraska state law.
Charges were filed against the mother and daughter in recent days after police in the city of Norfolk served Facebook with a search warrant for messages between them. Those messages allegedly showed that Ms Burgess had obtained abortion pills for her daughter and provided instructions on how to take time, reported Forbes.
Police began investigating the case in April following a tip-off, with Celeste and her mother allegedly telling police that she had experienced a miscarriage in the shower in April.
The pair also admitted to burying the foetus at an an address in Nebraska’s Madison County with the help of a man, Tanner Barnhill, 22, whose parents owned the property, and were afterwards charged for concealing a death and for false reporting of a death.
When the body was retrieved by investigators in late April, court records said it showed signs of “thermal wounds.” Police then accused the pair of burning the foetus.
The Burgesses were eventully accused of peforming an abortion illegally after the messages between the pair were obtained by investigators. A spokesperson for Facebook told Forbes on Monday that no further information about the police request could be provided.
Ms Burgess and her daughter were charged last week in Madison County District Court for performing or attempting an abortion over 20 weeks and for performing an abortion without a license, which are felonies in Nebraska.
Mr Barnhill was meanwhile accused of concealing a death and all three have denied the charges and are due to appear in court again for sentencing. It was unclear if they had lawyers however.
The case comes in the wake of the US Supreme Court’s decision to annual abortion rights guranteed by the landmark decision in Roe v Wade, leading to fears about women’s access to abortion services in Republian states.
Nebraska’s Republican governor Pete Ricketts said on Monday he will not call on state legislators to vote on a 12-week abortion ban because there was insufficeient support for the restriction.
The Independent has approached the Madison County attorney’s office for comment.