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Missouri prosecutor and new mom, 32, dies of COVID before she could hold her newborn son

Missouri prosecutor and new mom, 32, dies of COVID before she could hold her newborn son after giving birth to him three months early

  • JoEllen Engelbart was admitted to the hospital on December 23 after testing positive for the virus; she died on January 2, four days after baby Ross was born
  • She worked in Jackson County and leaves behind husband Matt and her son 
  • ‘Her asthma and other complications made it a difficult struggle,’ her aunt said
  • Friend Kelly Collins said JoEllen did not get to hold her baby son before her death
  • He is now in NICU after being born premature but doing well, according to family

A Missouri prosecutor and new mom has died of COVID-19 before she could hold her newborn son in her arms after giving birth to him three months early. 

JoEllen Engelbart, 32, tested positive for the virus last month and was admitted to the hospital on December 23. She died on January 2, four days after baby Ross was born. 

Engelbart, who worked at the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office and was married to husband Matt, had been expecting her first child. 

Her aunt Mary Rupert wrote in The Wyandotte Daily: ‘We heard from the family that her asthma and other complications made it a difficult struggle. 

JoEllen Engelbart, 32, pictured, tested positive for the virus last month and was admitted to the hospital on December 23. She died on January 2, four days after baby Ross was born

Friend Kelly Collins told 8NewsNow: ‘She gave the ultimate sacrifice. And she did everything she could to make sure he could still be here with us.

‘My world crumbled. She’s the type of person that can’t be replaced.’

Collins told the network that her friend did not get to hold her baby son, who is now in NICU but doing well, according to family.  

She added: ‘While his mom can’t physically be here to do that, there are other people in his life that will make sure he gets those same feelings. That his mom was able to give to so many other people.’ 

Engelbart, who worked at the Jackson County Prosecutor's Office and was married to husband Matt, pictured together, had been expecting her first child

Engelbart, who worked at the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office and was married to husband Matt, pictured together, had been expecting her first child

Collins told KMBC: ‘She could not wait to become a mom, and I know her family especially could not wait for the first grandchild.’ 

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker added: ‘She’s just a really tough person. But also kind and caring and went into prosecution for all the right reasons that really wanted to help other people. The virus took a really lovely person.’

She had tweeted: ‘Amid a cast of emotions I must report that we lost a family member. Jo valiantly fought Covid but lost that battle today. Jo was a lovely person. 

‘She was joyful, smart, so kind, happy without appearing to try and always volunteering. If you knew her, you would love her like I do.’

A GoFundMe to help Engelbart’s family with medical bills and raising Ross had reached more than $111,000 in donations Tuesday. 

The page reads: ‘She gave her all during her fight and because of her efforts JoEllen and Matt’s son, Ross Matthew, made his grand entrance into the world 3 months early.’ 

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