Bodies found in Oklahoma confirmed to be missing Kansas women at centre of ‘God’s Misfits’ murder case

Officials confirmed that Veronica Butler and Jilian Kelley were found on Sunday

Dan Gooding
Wednesday 17 April 2024 14:48 BST
Veronica Butler, left, and Jilian Kelley disappeared on 30 March, with four people now charged with their kidnap and murder
Veronica Butler, left, and Jilian Kelley disappeared on 30 March, with four people now charged with their kidnap and murder (AP)

Two bodies found in Oklahoma this weekend have been confirmed as the two women who disappeared last month at a rural crossroads.

Veronica Butler, 27, and Jilian Kelley, 39, were reported missing after their car was found abandoned in Texas County on 30 March.

The pair had been travelling to pick up Ms Butler’s children, ages six and eight, from their paternal grandmother, but vanished.

On Sunday, two bodies were found, police said. Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) confirmed on Tuesday night that these were the two women.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with their loved ones, along with everyone throughout their community,” the agency said on Facebook.

Four people, including the grandmother, are due in court on Wednesday charged with kidnapping and murder.

Investigators have alleged they are all part of an anti-government, religious group who call themselves “God’s Misfits”.

Their court hearing falls on the same day that Ms Butler was due to have a hearing to have greater access to her children.

The 27-year-old was in the middle of a years-long, “problematic” custody battle with her children’s father, Wrangler Rickman, and his mother Tifany Machel Adams, 54, according to arrest documents obtained by The Independent.

At the time of the women’s disappearance, the children were staying with Ms Adams, with Ms Butler allowed supervised visits on Saturdays. The father is currently in a rehabilitation facility.

Mr Rickman had reportedly told his grandmother “that they didn’t have to worry about the custody battle much longer, because Adams had it under control” and would “take out” Ms Butler during a drop-off of the children. He denied having this conversation when questioned later, documents showed.

Ms Adams’ partner Tad Bert Cullum, 43, and the other members of their alleged God’s Misfits group, Cora Twombly, 44 and Cole Earl Twombly, 50, are also charged over the women’s disappearances and deaths.

Clockwise from top left: Tad Bert Cullum, 43, Cora Twombly, 44, Cole Earl Twombly, 50, and Tifany Machel Adams, 54. (AP)

Ms Butler was due to bring her daughter to a birthday party the day she vanished. She had arranged to pick up the two children from Ms Adams at around 10am, but when they did not arrive at the party, family members went looking for her and Ms Kelley.

They found their car abandoned at the corner of Highway 95 and Road L - a rural spot in Texas County.

The OSBI said officers found evidence of a “severe injury”. There was blood on the ground, along with Ms Butler’s glasses, and a broken hammer, while a pistol magazine was discovered inside Ms Kelley’s purse. No firearm was seen.

After two weeks of investigations, arrest warrants were issued for the four suspects and they were detained on Saturday 13 April.

A friend of Mr Cullum’s, a municipal court judge, told NewsNation that he was at the house when the swat team arrived.

“I’m blown away that this even happened,” Vincent Forbes told the outlet. “Tad was a very good friend of mine. I’m not gonna say he was a very good friend of mine. He is a good friend of mine.”

The pair had been in business together over the past month or so, with Mr Forbes telling the outlet that he had never felt a “bad vibe” from the man.

The judge’s interview reportedly sparked anger from the local mayor, who demanded his resignation. Mr Forbes then did so Tuesday evening.

Wednesday’s initial hearing comes with questions still unanswered about the victims’ cause of death,

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