The bodies of two Kansas women who disappeared in Oklahoma were found in a buried freezer

The Associated Press - May 25, 2024 7:13 am

FILE - This combination photo shows Veronica Butler, left, and Jilian Kelley, right. Oklahoma prosecutors charged a fifth member of an anti-government group, Paul Jeremiah Grice, on Wednesday, April 24, 2024, with killing and kidnapping the two Kansas women. (Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation via AP, File)

By KEN MILLER Associated Press

(AP) — The bodies of two Kansas women who disappeared in Oklahoma were found in a buried freezer, according to recently unsealed court documents.

The bodies of Veronica Butler, 27, and Jilian Kelley, 39, both of Hugoton, Kansas, were found on April 14th buried on land in rural Texas County rented by Tad Cullum, who is among five people charged with kidnapping and killing the two women, according to documents filed on May 15th.

Also found on the land, which Cullum rented for cattle grazing, were articles of clothing, duct tape, and a knife, each “with possible blood on them,” in addition to black tape, electrical cord, and a combination stun gun/flashlight, according to the documents.

Cullum, 43, his girlfriend Tifany Adams, 54, both of Keyes, Oklahoma; husband and wife Cole Twombly, 50, and Cora Twombly, 44, of Texhoma, Oklahoma; and Paul Grice, 31, are each charged with two counts of murder, two counts of kidnapping, and a single count of conspiracy to commit murder.

All are being held without bail and a gag order in the case prohibits attorneys from commenting on the case.

Investigators have said Butler and Adams were in a bitter child dispute over custody of Butler’s children, who are Adams’ grandchildren.

Butler’s attorney told investigators that Butler was likely to be granted unsupervised visitation during a hearing scheduled just more than two weeks after the two disappeared, the documents state.

Butler and Kelley, who was to supervise a visitation with Butler and her children, disappeared March 30th while driving to pick up Butler’s two children from Adams for a birthday party.

The women’s car was found near the rural highway intersection about 260 miles (418 kilometers) from where Butler was to pick up her son and daughter. Butler’s glasses were found near the car and blood was found on the roadway, according to an arrest affidavit.

The buried freezer with the bodies inside was found about 8.5 miles (14 kilometers) from where the car was found and in the area where prepaid cell phones purchased by Adams were traced, according to the court documents.

A witness also told an investigator that Grice had asked him shortly after the bodies were found how long it would take the state lab to process DNA evidence, how long DNA would last in dirt, how long DNA would last on clothing in dirt in a 15 feet deep hole, and if he knew how to get a “guy and his family” into Mexico, according to documents.

The witness told the investigator that Grice said he was concerned about his DNA being in the hole where the bodies were found “because he had been to the Twombly residence.”

Another witness told Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation agents that all five suspects were part of “an anti-government group that had a religious affiliation” known as “God’s Misfits” according to an affidavit.


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