Father charged in ‘Baby Janna’ case sentenced to 30 years for neglect

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Baby Janna (left) and Jeff Fairbanks (right)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A man accused of child neglect in the death of his daughter learned his sentence this week.

Jeffrey Fairbanks was sentenced to 30 years in the Indiana Department of Correction in the “Baby Janna” case. A jury acquitted Fairbanks of murder but found him guilty of neglect of a dependent resulting in death after his trial in April.

On May 29, 2015, the baby’s mother reported her missing, prompting a large search. The girl’s mother said she’d left baby Janna with Fairbanks the day before. On May 28, he told her that Janna had died.

He initially said he found her dead and, in the resulting panic, told police he wrapped her body in a blanket and drove around for hours before dumping her body in a dumpster.

Fairbanks later told investigators that he put a pillow over her to muffle her cries on the day she died. Investigators spent months searching for the baby’s body, scouring landfills and eventually recovering a blanket.

The search included a retention pond near the family’s home, a trash dumpster, a trash transfer station and two landfills. Without her remains, prosecutors couldn’t prove their murder case, leading to his acquittal on that charge.

Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry released a statement about the sentence:

“Although Janna’s body has never been recovered, we commend the many hours devoted by investigators in the extensive search for Janna and the perseverance of our deputy prosecutors in obtaining a conviction in this exceedingly difficult case. With this conviction, Jeffery Fairbanks has been held responsible for her tragic death and disappearance.”

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