'We Burn the Evidence' Nebraska Mother Admits to Giving 17-Year-Old Daughter Abortion Pills, Helping Her Bury Fetus

Jessica Burgess
Jessica Burgess (left) and text message records of her conversation with her daughter Celeste. Twitter

A Nebraska woman pleaded guilty Monday to burning and concealing a fetus after she took medication to end her pregnancy, while prosecutors move forward with a criminal case accusing her mother of illegally helping with the abortion.

Prosecutors said Celeste Burgess gave birth to the stillborn fetus about 29 weeks and five days into her pregnancy. She was 17 at the time, but prosecutors charged her as an adult.

Mother-Daughter Burned, Buried the Fetus in a Field

Burgess, now 18, pleaded guilty to a felony charge of concealing or abandoning a dead body and prosecutors dropped two misdemeanor charges. Her mother, Jessica Burgess, 42, is accused of illegally helping with the abortion last spring. Madison county district court documents show she ordered the abortion pills on the internet.

After the teen aborted the 29-week-old fetus, the two burned the remains and buried them in a field north of Norfolk in north-eastern Nebraska. Authorities later found the burned fetus.

Madison county attorney Joe Smith has said it's the first time he has charged anyone with illegally performing an abortion after 20 weeks, a restriction that was passed in 2010. In May, the Republican governor, Jim Pillen, signed a 12-week abortion ban.

'We Burn the Evidence....Once Everything is Out'

The case against the mother and daughter is based partly on Facebook messages the two women exchanged about their plan to obtain the medication to induce an abortion and then to burn the fetus.

"Remember we burn the evidence," Jessica wrote in one of the messages sent to her teenage daughter. "Once everything is out."

After pleading guilty last Friday, Jessica Burgess is set for sentencing on 22 September. Two of the counts against her are felonies, one is a misdemeanor.

Celeste Burgess, now 18, was charged as an adult and pleaded guilty in May to removing, concealing or abandoning a dead body. She is scheduled to be sentenced on 20 July. She faces up to two years in prison.

According to court documents, the daughter talked in the messages she exchanged with her mom "about how she can't wait to get the 'thing' out of her body." She also said "I will finally be able to wear jeans" in one of the messages investigators obtained with a search warrant.

Last summer, a man pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor for helping the women bury the fetus.