Janna Rivera, a 3-month-old baby reported missing from her home in Indianapolis on May 29, is now officially a murder victim, even though her little body has never been located. And prosecutors now say they know who killed the little girl and how — placing the father of Baby Janna, 45-year-old Jeffrey Fairbanks, under arrest on Thursday night.
Fairbanks was charged with murder, and also with neglect of a dependent that resulted in death, according to a report on Indiana TV news station WTHR.
Fairbanks in June admitted that he disposed of his little daughter’s body by tossing the deceased child in a dumpster at an apartment complex in east Indianapolis. But he denied that he killed the child, claiming instead that the child simply died for reasons he did not know.
The baby’s mother, Yolanda Rivera-Gonzalez, was at work at the time, and Fairbanks later told her that Janna had died and that he buried her in a cornfield and marked the makeshift grave with a cross.
But Fairbanks’ story kept changing, prosecutors say. He also made unusual statements to detectives during their initial interrogation of him. At one point, according to a report on WXIN-TV, he told the investigators, “I picked her up and she wasn’t movin’ anymore. I wanna get on with my life.”
He later admitted to the detectives that he placed a pillow over the crying baby’s face, but denied applying any pressure to the pillow.
Newly released police affidavits from other children in the home, however, paint a more disturbing picture of Fairbanks’ behavior toward baby Janna. According to the affidavits, while Fairbanks, when sober, took acceptable care of the baby, he was frequently drunk and, during those episodes, displayed a violent, sadistic streak.
When intoxicated, he would hit the baby in the mouth when the little girl cried, and covered her face with a pillow to quiet her when she cried. Another daughter told police that she had to take a pillow off her baby sister’s face, a pillow put there by Fairbanks, at least two times.
On the day that baby Janna died, the other children told police, Fairbanks had been drinking vodka excessively, had reddened eyes, and smelled strongly of alcohol.
One other child says she heard Janna crying early in the morning, after the baby’s mother left for work at around 4 a.m. But at about 1 p.m., the other child saw Fairbanks carrying the baby out of the house — and Janna’s eyes were closed.
Despite searching two landfills and several dumpsters where Fairbanks may have dumped the body of baby Janna Rivera, police never found the little girl’s body.
[Images: WTHR Screen Grabs]