Funeral service planned for 4-year-old Oklahoma girl allegedly killed on Christmas
CYRIL, Okla. (KOCO) -- Oklahoma and the nation are waiting to see if the remains found in rural Grady County near Rush Springs are those of the 4-year-old Cyril girl who was reported missing on Jan. 10.
The victim, Athena Brownfield, 4, was reported missing the afternoon of Jan. 10 after a mail carrier found her 5-year-old sister outside their home on West Nebraska Avenue in Cyril.
After almost a week of searching, the OSBI said the efforts transitioned to a recovery operation. They said they found remains on Jan. 17 in rural Grady County near Rush Springs, but they have not confirmed that they are those of Athena.
Child's Remains Found The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation recovered the remains of a child near Rush Springs in rural Grady County on Jan. 17.
Authorities said in a news release that they could not confirm that the remains are those of Athena Brownfield.
The remains were taken to the Medical Examiner's Office in Oklahoma City for positive identification.
Funeral Service A funeral service has been announced for Athena Brownfield, the 4-year-old girl who was reported missing more than a week ago in Cyril.
An obituary for Athena Brownfield posted by Amy Stittsworth Funeral Services says the service will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 25, at the Stride Bank Center, located at 301 S. Independence Ave. in Enid.
"The events surrounding the untimely death of this little 4-year-old girl are heartbreaking and she deserves to be remembered in the correct way and with dignity," Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Eric Foster said
State Sen. Roger Thompson will officiate the funeral. His office told KOCO 5 that he didn't want to comment but said he's honored to be at the ceremony.
Law enforcement arrested two caregivers in connection with the disappearance of Athena Brownfield.
Authorities say Ivon Adams was arrested in Arizona on Jan. 12 for outstanding charges out of Oklahoma. He was booked into the Maricopa County Jail.
Adams was arrested on counts of first-degree murder and child neglect. He is being held in a $1 million bond.
On Jan. 19, the Maricopa County Jail confirmed to KOCO 5 that Adams was released to a different agency to return to Oklahoma.
Also on Jan. 12, the OSBI announced that they arrested 32-year-old Alysia Adams. She was formally charged on Jan. 17 with two counts of child neglect – one for failing to supervise Athena's sister and another for failing to protect Athena from her husband.
When asked if the Department of Human Services was involved in the case in any way, authorities said, "no comment."
Court Documents Detail Alleged Murder Court documents obtained on Jan. 17 allege that a caregiver looking after Athena Brownfield killed the 4-year-old Cyril girl on Christmas Day and buried her near Rush Springs.
Warning: The events detailed below from the court documents are graphic.
The court documents say Alysia Adams confessed to investigators on Jan. 12 that her husband, Ivon Adams, beat Athena around midnight on Dec. 25 while at their home on Nebraska Avenue in Cyril. Athena was not moving, and the documents say her eyes were barely open.
Ivon Adams allegedly then laid the 4-year-old on the ground and punched her at least three more times in the chest, according to the court documents. Athena never moved after that, the court documents state.
Maricopa County Sheriff's Office The court documents say Ivon Adams left the home around 1 a.m. on Dec. 26 with Athena. When he returned, the documents say he told Alysia Adams that he buried her near a fence line that was next to their old home in Rush Springs and that he placed a large broken branch over the burial site.
Alysia Adams' confession led authorities to believe that Ivon Adams committed first-degree murder.
The court documents say phone records show that Ivon Adams left the home on Nebraska Avenue between 4:15 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. on Dec. 26 and traveled to near Rush Springs.
The investigation into Athena's disappearance started the afternoon of Jan. 10, after a mail carrier found Athena's 5-year-old sister outside their home and called the police. The sister told investigators that she had been home alone and was tired of being alone, according to the court documents.
Who Are Alysia and Ivon Adams Athena Brownfield and her 5-year-old sister lived with Alysia and Ivon Adams, and the two girls were related to Alysia.
Court documents say the biological mother of Athena and her 5-year-old sister left her daughters in Alysia and Ivon Adams' care 1 1/2 to 2 years ago. The Adams never enrolled Athena's sister in school or took the girls to the doctor, the court documents say.
Where Are Athena's Parents? Although information about the 4-year-old girl's parents has not been released, OSBI officials said Athena's biological parents have been interviewed by agents and are cooperating with the investigation.
Authorities also have not said why Athena and her 5-year-old sister were not in their parents' care.
Timeline of Events The investigation into Athena's disappearance started around 2 p.m. Jan. 10, after a mail carrier found an unattended 5-year-old girl – whom OSBI said was Athena's sister – near their home on West Nebraska Avenue in Cyril.
Oklahoma law enforcement and the FBI have conducted searches and an investigation into the disappearance since then.
Around 4:10 p.m. on Jan. 12, law enforcement arrested one of Athena's caretakers, Alysia Adams, on two counts of child neglect. The next day, authorities announced that her husband, Ivon Adams, had been arrested in Arizona.
Court documents later revealed that Ivon Adams was taken into custody due to an outstanding warrant for first-degree murder and child neglect.
Although an exact timeline of Athena's disappearance has not been released, court documents say that Alysia Adams confessed that her husband killed the 4-year-old girl on Christmas Day and buried her body near their old home in Rush Springs.
On Jan. 17, authorities found the remains of a child in rural Grady County near Rush Springs. The OSBI could not confirm that the remains are those of Athena.
The remains were taken to the Medical Examiner's Office for positive identification.
The Search Authorities say the search started after learning that Athena was missing the afternoon of Jan. 10.
During the initial search, law enforcement deployed infrared helicopters and conducted grid searches on foot with the help of volunteers and using four-wheelers. They also utilized boats on small ponds.
"Our ERT Team, which is a team specialty trained to go on foot in search of people and things, are out in coordination with civilians who have come and wanted to volunteer their time and effort," Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Eric Foster said on Jan. 11.
Brook Arbeitman, with the OSBI, said the ground grid search with volunteers was called off on Jan. 11, but authorities brought in Oklahoma Department of Corrections dogs to search for Athena.
On Jan. 12, Cyril town officials posted on social media that, per the OSBI, all trash pickup had been suspended. That suspension has since been lifted.
During the weekend of Jan. 14-15, authorities said they were searching nearby lakes and bodies of water for Athena.
On Jan. 16, the OSBI said the search was a recovery operation and they were looking for Athena's remains.
Why an Amber Alert Was Not Issued Foster said an Amber Alert was not issued because the circumstances surrounding Athena's disappearance do not meet the specific guidelines required.
"The Amber Alert has specific guidelines that we have to adhere to push out the Amber Alert specifically," Foster said. "The Amber Alert goes out nationwide. Once we push that button, it goes all the way to Washington, D.C., and goes out like that. So, there's specific things and guidelines that we have to follow. Not every part of that guideline came into play in this, so that wasn't done."
A missing and endangered person alert went out on Jan. 10 to people in a 15-mile radius of Cyril.
"That's why you didn't get it statewide – those emergency alerts statewide," Foster said. "It went locally, and that was really the important timeframe that we needed to get that out."
Foster added that information also was put on social media so people and the media could get the information out to more people.
"It was done in a very efficient way by guidelines," Foster said. "And there are reasons for those guidelines that the Department of Justice puts out those guidelines to help us kind of put that together."
As of Jan. 16, OSBI has asked the public to not self-deploy to search for Athena's remains. OSBI officials said people who search could be trespassing or worse, interfering with the investigation by contaminating potential evidence.
Good Samaritans set up ways to raise money to help Athena and her 5-year-old sister.
First, a bank account has been set up for people to donate money. Click here to donate. Anyone can donate at any First National Bank and Trust of Chickasha location.
Where is Cyril, Oklahoma? Cyril is a town located in Caddo County and is a little more than an hour's drive southwest of Oklahoma City.
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