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Remains of Pastor’s Wife and Friend Identified; OK County GOP Chair Among ‘God’s Misfits’ Murder Defendants

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Screenshot from Facebook / @Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation - Authorized Page

New information is emerging about the suspects charged with kidnapping and murdering Jilian Kelley, 39, and Veronica Butler, 27. As ChurchLeaders has reported, the four defendants—now being held without bond—belong to a religious anti-government group called God’s Misfits. This week, news surfaced that suspect Tifany Machel Adams, 54, is the GOP chair for Cimarron County, Oklahoma.

Adams is also the paternal grandmother of Butler’s two children, ages 6 and 8, who are at the center of an ongoing custody dispute. The last weekend in March, Butler had driven to pick up her children from Adams, taking Kelley along as a visitation supervisor. When Butler and Kelley failed to return, an extensive search ensued.

After two weeks, remains thought to be those of the missing women were found in rural Oklahoma. Those remains have now been positively identified as the bodies of Kelley and Butler. According to court documents, evidence from the scene indicates the women suffered violent deaths.

RELATED: ‘Suspicious’ Disappearance of Pastor’s Wife and Friend Has Multiple Agencies Searching

Kelley’s husband, Heath Kelley, is pastor at Hugoton First Christian Church in Hugoton, Kansas. In June, he is slated to begin serving at Willow Christian Church in Indianola, Nebraska.

Cimarron County GOP Official Charged With ‘Senseless Crime’

Adams was reportedly elected as Cimarron County GOP chair last year. When asked to comment on the charges against Adams, Oklahoma State Sen. Nathan Dahm, chairman of the state GOP, said:

While we at the Oklahoma Republican Party have no personal relationship or knowledge of the individuals who have been accused in this senseless crime, we have been made aware that Ms. Adams was previously elected by a handful of people to the role of chair in her county.

Dahm called the situation “tragic” and asked for prayers for the family—especially the “innocent children” involved.

According to an affidavit, investigators said Adams was trying to keep her grandchildren away from her son, who is in drug rehab, and from Butler. A custody hearing had been scheduled for April 17.

The other three defendants are Tad Collum, Cole Twombly, and Cora Twombly. All four are charged with first-degree murder, kidnapping, and conspiracy to commit murder.

An Oklahoma judge ruled that the suspects be held without bond because “proof of evidence or presumption of guilt is great” and because they have “the resources to flee if given the opportunity.”

According to a prosecutor’s motion, Adams admitted to investigators that she was responsible for the women’s deaths. Investigators also said the teenage daughter of Cora Twombly described hearing the suspects plot the murders.

RELATED: Suspects in Murder of Pastor’s Wife and Friend Are Members of ‘God’s Misfits,’ a Religious Anti-Government Group

Churches Request Prayers for Survivors’ Families

Pastor Heath Kelley’s current and future churches are requesting prayers for the victims’ families. On the Hugoton First Christian Facebook page, an administrator posted Thursday (April 18):

On behalf of the Kelley Family they would like to send a huge THANK YOU and appreciation to all their family, friends, church family, community and surrounding communities for the outpouring of love in prayers, hugs, food, supplies, visits and donations. Each one has been a blessing and they are humbled by your love and generosity.

The post continued: “The family would also like to share with you the following song that Jilian had been listening to on repeat over the past few months, ‘Whatever It Takes’ by Stephen Stanley.”