NewsNational NewsScripps News


Bodies found confirmed to be missing preacher's wife and her friend

Both women, from Kansas, had gone missing while in Oklahoma last month. Four people have been arrested and charged with murder and kidnapping.
Bodies found confirmed to be missing preacher's wife and her friend
Posted at 1:25 PM, Apr 17, 2024

Two bodies recovered in a rural county of Oklahoma are confirmed to be that of a missing preacher’s wife and her friend. 

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation said the chief medical examiner positively identified the deceased as 27-year-old Veronica Butler and 39-year-old Jilian Kelley. 

Both women were from Kansas and had been missing since March 30. 

“Our thoughts and prayers are with their loved ones, along with everyone throughout their community,” the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation said in a statement on Facebook

Authorities said Butler and Kelley had been driving in Oklahoma last month to pick up Butler’s children from a birthday party when the two failed to show up. The vehicle they had been traveling in was found abandoned near Highway 95 and Road L in Texas County. Police had said there was evidence to indicate foul play. 

On Saturday, four people — 43-year-old Tad Bert Cullum, 54-year-old Tifany Machel Adams, 50-year-old Cole Earl Twombly and 44-year-old Cora Twombly — were arrested and charged with two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of kidnapping, and one count of conspiracy to commit murder in the first degree, in connection with the case. 

It was one day later that two bodies were recovered, followed by a positive identification on Monday. 

Adams, who was arrested alongside her boyfriend, Cullum, was the grandmother of Butler’s two children — her son was their father, according to The Associated Press. Butler had been on her way to a supervised visit with the kids, with Kelley as her approved supervisor.  

The family had been in a custody battle over the children, with Adams taking issue with Butler’s visits, according to AP. Butler’s attorney told investigators their client was likely to be granted more time, including unsupervised visitation, at a hearing in April. 

AP said all four people arrested were part of an anti-government group in Oklahoma known as “God’s Misfits.” 

Trending stories at