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Bodies Found in Search for Missing Pastor’s Wife Jilian Kelley, and Veronica Butler

Bodies Found in Search for Missing Pastor’s Wife Jilian Kelley, and Veronica Butler
Jilian Kelley on the right, 39, and Veronica Butler on the left, 27, were both reported missing on March 30, 2024. Kelley is the wife of Heath Kelley, the outgoing pastor of Hugoton First Christian Church in Kansas. Heath Kelley recently accepted a new job at Willow Christian Church in Nebraska. | Screenshot: Facebook/Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation

The day after the arrest of four individuals in connection with the disappearance of Jilian Kelley, 39, the pastor’s wife, and 27-year-old Veronica Butler, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation has reported the discovery of two bodies that they are currently working to identify.

According to a brief update released Sunday night, the OSBI, along with the FBI, Texas County Sheriff’s Department, and the Office of the Oklahoma Chief Medical Examiner, recovered two deceased individuals in rural Texas County on April 14. Both individuals will be taken to the Medical Examiner’s Office for identification and to determine the cause and manner of death. This investigation is ongoing.

Kelley, the wife of Pastor Heath Kelley who leads Hugoton First Christian Church in Kansas, is set to become the new pastor of Willow Christian Church in Nebraska starting in June. Both congregations have been praying for the safe return of Pastor Kelley’s wife and Butler.

The women went missing in Oklahoma on March 30. According to a source close to Butler who spoke to ABC 7, the missing mother was supposed to pick up her 6-year-old daughter and 8-year-old son in Eva, Oklahoma, to celebrate her daughter’s birthday. Butler had been embroiled in an ongoing custody dispute with the family of her children’s father, Wrangler Cole Rickman. Jilian Kelley had traveled with Butler from Elkhart on what was supposed to be a 16-mile journey, but they stopped 3 miles short of their destination. Their vehicle was discovered abandoned near Highway 95 and Road L, south of Elkhart, Kansas, in rural Texas County.

Bodies Found in Search for Missing Pastor’s Wife Jilian Kelley, and Veronica Butler

Investigators, who uncovered evidence indicating foul play in the disappearance of the women, announced on Saturday that they had arrested four individuals in connection with the case. Among those arrested are Tifany Machel Adams, 54, the paternal grandmother of Butler’s children, along with Tad Bert Cullum, 43; Cole Earl Twombly, 50; and Cora Twombly, 44. All four individuals were apprehended in Texas and Cimarron counties and are facing charges of two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of kidnapping, and one count of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder.

In a legal filing submitted to the Cimarron County Court in Oklahoma last November, Tifany Adams, the children’s paternal grandmother, objected to any modification to the supervised visitation agreement that Butler had with her children. Adams cited concerns about the children being exposed to sexual abuse while under her care.

The motion claimed that the children’s father was a drug addict who showed little interest in caring for his children. It further stated that despite this, he placed more trust in Adams than in Butler to safeguard the children.

“Petitioner appears to be capitalizing on the indifference Mr. Rickman has shown for his children. Mr. Rickman has removed himself from the children’s lives. Instead of being a father, he now seeks out the pleasures of drinking alcohol, using drugs, and other degenerate behavior,” the complaint explains.

“When he left the children, he left the children in his mother’s care, not in the Petitioner’s care. The reason for this is twofold. First, it would have been a violation of the court’s order granting Mr. Rickman temporary emergency custody for him to leave the minor children with Petitioner. This is because, and the point cannot be stressed enough, Petitioner’s brother has been found to have sexually abused the minor children by this court, and Petitioner has been found to have violated the no-contact order prohibiting the minor children from being around Petitioner’s abusive sibling,” it adds.

“The second reason is because, obviously, Mr. Rickman trusts Ms. Adams with the children more than he trusts the Petitioner with the children.”

Read complete story on ChristianPost.com.


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