LINCOLN, NE – A mother and daughter based out of Nebraska have both been charged in connection with allegedly carrying out a late-term abortion, with the plans for said unlawful late-term abortion being discussed between the two over Facebook messenger.
Authorities were first tipped off to the matter back in April after a friend of 17-year-old Celeste Burgess reached out to the Madison County Attorney’s Office after reportedly witnessing the teen girl voluntarily take a pill meant to induce a miscarriage.
Medical records obtained during the investigation detailed that Celeste was approximately 23 weeks pregnant as of March, with a due date for the baby’s delivery being in July.
For the sake of context, abortions performed after 20 weeks of pregnancy are illegal in Nebraska, according to a report from Newsweek. Records show that Celeste “unexpectedly gave birth” at her home in the bathtub on April 22nd and enlisted her mother, 41-year-old Jessica Burgess, to help bury the child.
The body was reportedly discovered by authorities buried north of Norfolk, with investigators obtaining evidence that Celeste, Jessica, and a third individual attempted to burn the child’s body prior to burying him or her. A subsequent autopsy performed on the child revealed that the baby’s lungs never contained oxygen – meaning the child was either stillborn or suffocated.
Facebook messages that were exchanged between Celeste and her mother, Jessica, were obtained by investigators, which provided more insight into the matter. Apparently, Jessica and Celeste had discussed through Facebook messenger about obtaining the abortion pills, which the teen’s mother allegedly obtained.
In these messages, Celeste was instructed to take one pill to stop hormones and wait 24 hours thereafter before taking the second pill that would aid in inducing the miscarriage. Additional messages obtained by law enforcement show Celeste confirming with her mother plans to burn the body of the child, saying she can’t wait to get this “thing” out of her body.
A subsequent search warrant was carried out at the home of the teen and her mother, with authorities reportedly taking 13 items from the residence that including the likes of phones and laptops.
Jessica Burgess has since been charged with improperly disposing of human skeletal remains, concealing the death of another person, providing false information, and performing an abortion without a license and is being held on a $10,000 bond. The teen’s mother has since pleaded not guilty to the charges and has her next court appearance in September, with a jury trial slated for as early as October.
As for the teen, Celeste Burgess was charged with prohibited acts related to human skeletal remains, concealing the death of another person, and providing false information. While Celeste was originally being charged as a juvenile, she has since turned 18 and is now being tried as an adult.
Celeste has since pleaded not guilty as well, with her bond having been set at $20,000. The teen has reportedly since bonded out of jail and has her next court appearance later in August, with a jury trial slated for as early as November.