Their Final Resting Spot: a Cow Pasture

More details are trickling in on the murders of Kansas women Veronica Butler, Jilian Kelley
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted May 23, 2024 12:50 PM CDT
Murdered Kansas Women Were Buried in Cow Pasture
This combination photo shows Veronica Butler, left, and Jilian Kelley, right.   (Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation via AP, File)

Two Kansas women who disappeared after traveling to Oklahoma in March were found dead inside a chest freezer buried in a cow pasture, court documents reveal. The location in Oklahoma's Texas County was just 10 miles from where Veronica Butler, 27, and Jilian Kelley, 39, disappeared March 30 while traveling to pick up Butler's two children, who were being cared for by their paternal grandmother, Tifany Adams. The handoff was to take place at a roadside meeting point, per KWCH. Butler's vehicle was ultimately found abandoned with evidence of a "severe injury" nearby, according to a search warrant affidavit. In addition to blood, "Butler's glasses were also found in the roadway south of the vehicle, near a broken hammer," the document reads, per NBC News.

On April 13, Adams, 54; Adams' boyfriend, Tad Cullum, 43; Cole Twombly, 50; and Twombly's wife, Cora Twombly, 44, were arrested. A fifth person, Paul Grice, 31, was arrested at a later date. All five—said to be members of an anti-government group called God's Misfits—are being held without bond on murder and kidnapping charges. There are no additional suspects, the State Bureau of Investigation said Wednesday, per NBC. Authorities say Butler and Adams were involved in a "problematic" custody dispute. The children's father had legal custody but said his mother would deny him access to the children regardless. The father, who was in rehab in late March, also claimed Adams and Cullum made death threats, though at whom is unclear.

Butler had supervised visitation rights—which is why Kelley, a court-appointed supervisor, was along for the ride—but she'd been pushing for unsupervised visits, which could've begun in April, per court records. Adams wasn't willing to let that happen, authorities allege. They claim she purchased five stun guns and three prepaid cellphones, all of which were in the area on March 30 where Butler's vehicle was found. The Twomblys' teenage daughter told authorities her mother and father blocked a roadway to divert Butler and Kelley to a place where the other suspects were waiting, per the Kansas Reflector. The bodies were found April 14 on property Cullum rented for cattle grazing, authorities say. Blood-stained clothing, duct tape, and a knife were also found, per the New York Post. (More murder stories.)

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