Bodies of missing Kansas women found buried in freezer in Oklahoma, officials say

The bodies of two missing Kansas women were found in a freezer in Oklahoma, officials and news outlets reported.

Court documents filed May 15 and recently unsealed indicated the bodies were found April 14 buried in a freezer at a rented cow pasture in Texas County, Oklahoma, according to NBC News and the Associated Press.

Veronica Butler, 27, and Jilian Kelley, 39, were “traveling together to pick up children” in March, according to a March 30 post from the Texas County Sheriff’s Department. Authorities later found their vehicle abandoned on the side of the road near the Kansas-Oklahoma border, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations (OSBI).

Five people have been charged in connection with their deaths: Paul Grice, 31; Tad Bert Cullum, 43; Tifany Machel Adams, 54; Cole Earl Twombly, 50; and Cora Twombly, 44, according to OSBI.

Cullum had been renting the cow pasture where officials said Butler and Kelley were found, the Associated Press reported, citing court documents.

Cullum’s attorney did not immediately respond to McClatchy News’ request for comment. Attorney information for the four other defendants was not listed. The Associated Press reported a gag order says attorneys are not allowed to comment publicly about the case.

The affidavit said the five suspects were reportedly part of an anti-government religious group known as “God’s Misfits,” according to the Associated Press.

According to court records, Butler had been involved since 2019 in a “problematic” custody dispute with Adams over Butler’s children, NBC News reported. Adams is the children’s grandmother, according to court documents obtained by the news outlet.

Butler had requested an extended visitation of her children, and a hearing was set for April 17, according to USA Today.

Before that time, Butler was supposed to arrive at a birthday party with her children, the news outlet reported. However, she never appeared at the party, according to USA Today.

Officials said three prepaid cellphones, purchased by Adams were found to have been in the area near where Butler’s car was found after she went missing, according to NBC News.

“The evidence that was discovered inside of that abandoned vehicle and around it were able to help our investigators determine that there was foul play involved,” OSBI spokesperson Hunter McKee said, as reported by The Wichita Eagle.

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