A Missouri mother is facing child abuse and second-degree murder charges this week after being accused of allowing -- and perhaps even encouraging -- her sex-offender boyfriend to rape her young daughter.
Prosecutors allege that Howell knew her boyfriend, Jordan Lafayette Prince, was a convicted child abuser and allowed him to spend time with her daughter Ashlynn. They say she was in the trailer with him when he allegedly raped and strangled the 4-month-old girl last December, according to the St. Charles County Prosecutor's complaint.
Details in the murder case against Jessica Lynn Howell were released this week, according to Missouri Fox affiliate KTVI. St. Charles Prosecuting Attorney Tim Lohmar told the station that text messages between Howell and Prince suggest Howell openly allowed the sexual abuse to occur.
“In those text messages she suggested and encouraged some unspeakable things,” Lohmar said. “It is very, very disturbing.”
Prince, meanwhile, has been indicted on counts of first-degree murder, as well as child abuse and forcible sodomy, according to local station KMOV.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Prince had previously been found guilty of abusing a 4-year-old in Idaho. Howell reportedly knew about the incident and actually confirmed her boyfriend's police record through an Internet search.
Howell, who has previously been charged with child endangerment, according to the paper, is in jail with a $1 million bond.
Correction: A previous version of this story misstated the name of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.