NATIONAL NEWS

2 bodies found in rural Oklahoma as 4 suspects face murder charges in case of missing women

Apr 15, 2024, 4:19 PM | Updated: 4:46 pm

Jilian Kelley and Veronica Butler were driving with one another to pick up children, according to t...

Jilian Kelley and Veronica Butler were driving with one another to pick up children, according to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. Mandatory Credit: Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation via CNN Newsource

(CNN) — Authorities are working to identify two bodies found in rural Oklahoma on Sunday, a day after four people were arrested on murder and kidnapping charges in connection with the disappearance of two women late last month.

Officials with the agency and the FBI offered condolences at a Monday news conference to the families of Veronica Butler, 27, and Jilian Kelley, 39, while emphasizing the bodies recovered in Texas County remain unidentified. Still, Butler and Kelley are not believed to be alive, added Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation spokesperson Hunter McKee.

In the meantime, investigators are confident that four people arrested this weekend are linked to their disappearance and the public doesn’t face any danger related to the case, McKee said.

“Based on the evidence and the information that we were able to obtain throughout the entire investigation – what was found inside of the vehicle, witnesses, family, friends of the victims that we were able to talk to throughout this entire process – we were able to gain the information to determine that these four people were responsible for both of these women going missing,” McKee said.

Authorities on Saturday arrested 43-year-old Tad Bert Cullum, 54-year-old Tifany Machel Adams, 50-year-old Cole Earl Twombly and 44-year-old Cora Twombly in Texas and Cimarron counties, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation said in a news release.

“All four individuals were booked into the Texas County Jail on two counts of First-Degree Murder, two counts of Kidnapping, and one count of Conspiracy to Commit Murder in the First Degree,” the release said.

Each of the suspects is scheduled to make an initial court appearance on Wednesday morning, online court records show. It’s unclear if they have lawyers.

Butler and Kelley were traveling together to pick up children but never made it to the pickup location, the Texas County Sheriff’s Department said in an “endangered missing advisory” posted March 30. Their vehicle was found abandoned near Highway 95 in Oklahoma’s Texas County, south of the state border with Kansas, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation said.

Evidence in and around the vehicle helped investigators determine that “there was foul play involved,” McKee told reporters Monday, noting the children were safe. McKee declined to characterize the evidence further, citing the ongoing investigation.

The two bodies recovered Sunday were found in a “very rural area,” McKee said, adding the Oklahoma medical examiner’s office for both would determine identity, plus cause and manner of death.

“This case did not end the way we hoped. It has certainly been a tragedy for everybody involved,” Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation Director Aungela Spurlock said Monday.

CNN has reached out to police for information regarding any relationship between the suspects and the missing women.

This is a developing story and has been updated.

CNN’s Dakin Andone and Elizabeth Wolfe contributed to this report.


The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2024 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

KSL 5 TV Live

National News

FILE - Sean "Diddy" Combs arrives at the LA Premiere of "The Four: Battle For Stardom" at the CBS R...

Andrew Dalton, The Associated Press

Sean Combs admits beating ex-girlfriend Cassie, says he’s sorry, calls his actions ‘inexcusable’

Sean “Diddy” Combs admitted that he beat his ex-girlfriend Cassie in a hotel hallway in 2016 after CNN released video of the attack, saying in a video apology he was “truly sorry” and his actions were “inexcusable.”

11 hours ago

Roughly one in seven (15.3%) Gen Z credit card borrowers have maxed out their credit cards. (Westen...

Matt Egan, CNN

1 in 7 Gen Z credit card users are ‘maxed out’

Roughly one in seven (15.3%) Gen Z credit card borrowers have maxed out their credit cards, according to new research from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

11 hours ago

Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse are depicted in the 'Partners' statue at Disneyland in Anaheim, Califo...

Eva Rothenberg, CNN

Disneyland character performers vote to unionize

(CNN) — You can add Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy to the growing list of workers seeking better employment benefits. After three days of voting last week, 1,700 Disneyland Resort cast members who play characters around the theme park in Anaheim, California, as well as perform at parades, voted to unionize under Actors’ Equity Association, […]

12 hours ago

Cailey Fleming, left, and John Krasinski pose with the character "Blue" at the premiere of Paramoun...

Lindsay Bahr, The Associated Press

John Krasinski’s ‘IF’ hits a box office nerve with $35 million debut

John Krasinski’s imaginary friends movie “IF” claimed the top spot at the box office this weekend according to studio estimates Sunday. Its $35 million North American debut was also a bit lower than some projections.

13 hours ago

This aerial view shows debris from the destroyed Francis Scott Key Bridge being detached from the c...

Amanda Musa and Zoe Sottile, CNN

Trapped cargo ship Dali will refloat to Baltimore Monday at high tide

Almost two months after its devastating collision with a Baltimore bridge, the trapped cargo ship Dali will refloat and travel to the Baltimore marine terminal on Monday morning, officials said.

13 hours ago

Protesters descend a staircase in the Minnesota State Capitol building in St. Paul, holding signs a...

Eva Rothenberg, CNN

Minnesota lawmakers strike minimum pay deal for Uber, Lyft drivers

Minnesota lawmakers successfully struck a deal with rideshare companies Uber and Lyft to establish a minimum wage standard for their drivers.

15 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 Internet Safety Tips for Kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

2 bodies found in rural Oklahoma as 4 suspects face murder charges in case of missing women