Authorities in Oklahoma found the remains of a child in an area they were searching for 4-year-old Athena Brownfield, whose caregiver was charged with her murder last week.
Investigators had been searching the area where the remains were found after one of the little girl’s caregivers told detectives that the other caregiver — Ivon Adams, who was arrested last week in Arizona — had beaten the girl to death and buried her body on property he once owned in another town, KSAZ reports.
The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation said it had sent the remains to the state medical examiner’s office in Oklahoma City for a positive identification.
“At this time, the OSBI cannot confirm the remains are those of Athena Brownfield,” read the brief statement.
The OSBI announced on Monday that the investigation into Athena’s disappearance had morphed into a recovery operation, as CrimeOnline previously reported. The girl was reported missing on January 11, after a mail carrier found her 5-year-old sister wandering alone outside the home of her caregivers, Ivon and Alysia Adams, in Cyril.
Alysia Adams was arrested on Thursday in Oklahoma, and Ivon Adams was arrested later than day in Phoenix, Arizona. Both were charged with child neglect, but Ivon Adams was also charged with “child homicide.”
According to court documents in the case, Alysia Adams told investigators that Ivon beat Athena to death at about midnight on December 25, KSAZ reported. After the beating, the little girl “was not moving and her eyes were barely open,” an affidavit says. Ivon “then laid her on the ground and punched her at least three more times in the chest.” She “never moved after that,” Alysia told the investigators.
Ivon then took the girl and buried her “near a fence line that was next to their old residence in Rush Springs,” about 15 miles away from Cyril, the affdavit says.
Alysia told investigators that Ivon left with the girl’s body at about 1 a.m. on December 26, then returned and told her he’d marked the grave, on property in Rush Springs he once owned, with a broken branch.
Ivon Adams waived his extradition hearing last week, saying he wanted to get back to Oklahoma “and fight this.” It’s not clear yet when that extradition will take place. He remains jailed in Maricopa County.
Alysia Adams, meanwhile, is jailed in Caddo County, Oklahoma. She was formally charged on Tuesday with the two counts of child neglect — one for failure to supervise the 5-year-old and the other for failure to protect Athena from her husband. She’s been given a $500,000 bond with restrictions if it’s posted, according to KOCO.
The OSBI has said the girls and the Adamses are related, but they have not described that relationship. The affidavit said that the girls’ biological mother left the children with the couple 1 1/2 to 2 years ago. Both the children’s biological parents have been cooperating, the OSBI said.
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[Featured image: L-R, Ivon Adams/Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, Athena Brownfield/Cyril Police Department, Alysia Adams/Caddo County Sheriff’s Offfice]