Missing women from Kansas confirmed dead; 4 charged

Photos released by the OSBI showing Veronica Butler, 27, (L) and Jilian Kelley, 39, (R).

Two women from Kansas who went missing several weeks ago while on a trip to pick up children for a birthday party are dead, authorities in Oklahoma confirmed Monday. 

Veronica Butler, 27, and Jilian Kelley, 39, were driving through the Oklahoma panhandle to pick up Butler’s children for a March 30 birthday party in Kansas when they went missing

They never showed up to the birthday party, and their vehicle was found later that day abandoned on a rural highway near the Oklahoma-Kansas state line. Foul play was suspected based on what was found in their vehicle, authorities said, but did not elaborate.

On Saturday, April 13, two weeks since the women had been seen, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) said four people had been arrested in connection with the case:

  • Tad Bert Cullum, 43
  • Tifany Machel Adams, 54
  • Cole Earl Twombly, 50
  • Cora Twombly, 44 

Photos of the four suspects, names unspecified, released by OSBI. 

OSBI said they’ve each been charged with two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of kidnapping and one count of conspiracy to commit murder in the first degree. 

OSBI did not give details about a motive or possible connection between the missing women and the suspects. 

The following day, OSBI said two bodies were found in rural Texas County

OSBI spokesman Hunter McKee said Butler and Kelley are dead, and that the four defendants were responsible for the women going missing, but would not confirm that the bodies found were identified as the missing Kansas women, pending a report from the Medical Examiner’s Office.

All four suspects are being held without bond in the Texas County Jail and are scheduled to make an initial court appearance Wednesday morning, said Texas County Court Clerk Renee Ellis.

The children are safe. 

This story was reported from Detroit. The Associated Press contributed.