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Missing womens' bodies found buried on farm property linked to grandma accused in complex murder plan, documents show

Remains believed to be missing Kansas moms
4 arrested, bodies found in case of missing Kansas moms 01:48

The bodies of two murdered women who earlier this year disappeared in rural Oklahoma were eventually found buried on a farming property with ties to the grandmother of one of the women's children, according to court documents. A series of search warrants, filed around the time law enforcement arrested five suspects accused in the killings and released publicly this week, detail a complex and grisly scheme allegedly devised by members of a group called "God's Misfits," seemingly to end a difficult custody battle.

Veronica Butler, 27, and Jilian Kelley, 39, went missing on March 30 in Texas County, a sparsely-populated part of the Oklahoma panhandle, where Butler intended to pick up her daughter for a birthday party, according to court documents. She had driven from Kansas that day with Kelley, who was appointed to supervise the visit under a custody order.

Their car was found abandoned at a spot along Highway 95 in Kansas near the Oklahoma border, where prosecutors allege they were lured by the suspects who had been plotting to kill them. Authorities have not revealed what exactly caused Butler and Kelley's deaths, but warrants noted that the scene around their car showed "evidence of a severe injury," with blood left behind on the road. Police also noted Butler's glasses, a broken hammer and a pistol potentially missing from a purse that belonged to Kelley were found at the scene.

Investigators discovered Butler and Kelley's remains on April 13. They were found inside a chest freezer that had been buried in a pasture, which the grandmother's boyfriend rented for cattle grazing and could access any time, authorties said. The freezer was inside a hole filled both with dirt and concrete, according to affidavits. 

The property owner told authorities that his renter, 43-year-old Tad Bert Cullum, had asked on March 28 "if he could cut a tree down, remove a stump, bury some concrete" in an area below the dam where a concrete pile had been sitting above ground. He said Cullum carried out that project over the next day or so.

Veronica Butler, left, and Jilian Kelley were found dead on a rural Oklahoma property used for cattle grazing in April. Oklahoma Highway Patrol

Cullum was arrested along with 54-year-old Tifany Machel Adams, his significant other and the grandmother of Butler's three children, who shared custody of the kids. Authorities said Adams' son and the children's father, Wrangler Rickman, was in a rehabilitation center in Oklahoma City during the murders. 

While seeking full custody of Butler's children, Adams supposedly indicated that Butler had failed to protect them from a violent brother. A teenager, identified only by the initials C.W. in court filings, told investigators she had overheard Adams accuse the brother of sexual abuse during conversations with the teen's mother, 44-year-old Cora Twombly, and her husband, 50-year-old Cole Earl Twombly, who are also supects.

The teenager said that her mother had shared that information with her when Butler and Kelley were killed, and earlier had advised she and Cole Twombly would be away from the house on a "mission" the morning of March 30, according to the affidavits. The murders happened after previous unsuccessful attempts to kill Butler near her home in Kansas, the teen said, adding that in at least one of those instances Cora Twombly spoke openly about how the murder would unfold.

"C.W. stated that Cora told her that the plan to kill Butler in Kansas was to get in front of her while she was driving and to throw and anvil through her vehicle windshield," one affidavit read. Rickman had also mentioned death threats by Adams and Cullum in recordings obtained through the child custody case, according to the document.

In addition to Cullum and Adams, both Twomblys were arrested, along with 31-year-old Paul Grice, and taken into custody in Texas County, records show. 

All five suspects allegedly belonged to an anti-government group called "God's Misfits," which had a religious affiliation and convened regular meetings at the Twombly home, according to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. Each is charged with two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of kidnapping and one count of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder. For the murder charges, they could individually face lifetime prison sentences or the death penalty in Oklahoma if convicted.

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