Child remains have been found by investigators in rural Grady County, Oklahoma, amid the ongoing search for Athena Brownfield, as court documents allege the 4-year-old was punched to death on Christmas Day.
The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) said in a statement it could not confirm the remains, which were found outside of the town of Rush Springs, were those of Brownfield. “The remains will be transported to the Medical Examiner’s Office in Oklahoma City for positive identification,” OSBI said.
The investigation into the girl’s disappearance has been ongoing since Jan. 10 when a mail carrier Brownfield’s 5-year-old sister playing alone on the street. Officials on Monday declared the search for Brownfield a “recovery operation.”
The girls’ caretaker, Alysia Adams, 31, had been watching the children for about two years after their biological mother, Jasmin Brownfield, left them in her care, court documents said. Adams is a relative of the two girls, OSBI has said. Neither child had been sent to school nor seen a doctor and they were often left alone, police said. Adams has been arrested and charged with child abuse and neglect for failing to protect the child from her husband, Ivon Adams, who fled.
Ivon Adams, 36, was taken into custody Thursday in Arizona and is awaiting extradition to Oklahoma, OSBI said. He faces one count of first-degree murder and one count of child neglect, OSBI said Monday.
Alysia Adams confessed that around midnight on Christmas Day, Ivon Adams beat Athena Brownfield and held her up by her arms until she stopped moving, court documents said. Then he punched the toddler three times in the chest and left the house around 1: 00 a.m. on Dec. 26, the documents allege. He returned sometime later, telling his wife he buried Athena Brownfield near the fence line near their old residence in Rush Springs, according to the documents. He placed a large broken branch over the burial site, the documents said.
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