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2 Bodies Found Believed To Be the Remains of Pastor’s Wife and Friend; 4 Suspects Charged With Murder

Veronica Butler and Jilian Kelley
Screengrab via KSNW

Investigators have recovered two bodies that they believe to be the remains of missing pastor’s wife Jilian Kelley and her friend Veronica Butler in rural Texas County, Oklahoma. Four individuals have been charged with the first-degree murder of the two women. 

Kelley, 39, was the wife of Heath Kelley, pastor of Hugoton First Christian Church in Hugoton, Kansas. She and Butler, 27, went missing on March 30. 

The two women had been driving to Eva, Oklahoma, to pick up Butler’s 6-year-old daughter and 8-year-old son to celebrate the daughter’s birthday, according to ABC 7.

The car they were driving was later found abandoned, roughly three miles from their destination.

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The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) and Texas County Sheriff’s Office immediately began investigating, believing that foul play was involved. Investigators reportedly found separate puddles of blood outside the vehicle along with splatters of blood inside.

On Saturday (April 13), the OSBI and Texas County Sheriff’s Office announced that four individuals had been arrested in connection with the women’s disappearance, including Tifany Machel Adams, the paternal grandmother of Butler’s children. 

The others arrested included Adams’ romantic partner, Tad Bert Cullum, along with Cole Earl Twombly and Cora Twombly.

All four suspects have been charged with two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of kidnapping, and one count of conspiracy to commit murder in the first degree.

On Sunday (April 14), the OSBI and Texas County Sheriff’s Office revealed that investigators had found two bodies in connection with the case. 

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“Both individuals will be transported to the Medical Examiner’s Office to determine identification, as well as cause and manner of death,” the joint statement said. “This is still an ongoing investigation.”