Bodies Found, Arrests Made in Case of Missing Kansas Women

In Oklahoma, 4 face first-degree murder charges after Veronica Butler, Jilian Kelley vanished
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 15, 2024 8:01 AM CDT
Bodies Found, Arrests Made in Case of Missing Kansas Women
Tad Bert Cullum, top left; Cora Twombly, top right; Tifany Machel Adams, bottom left; and Cole Earl Twombly, bottom right. On Saturday, Oklahoma authorities said they arrested and charged these four people with murder and kidnapping.   (Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation via AP)

A pair of big updates came in over the weekend regarding two Kansas women who went missing last month after traveling to Oklahoma, including four arrests and the discovery of two bodies. On Saturday, four individuals were detained in Texas and Cimarron counties in the case of Veronica Butler, 27, and Jilian Kelley, 39, who vanished while headed to pick up Butler's kids for a March 30 birthday party back in Kansas, CNN reports, citing a statement from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. The women never made it to their Oklahoma destination; their vehicle was found empty in a rural stretch of Texas County, about 10 miles south of Elkhart, Kansas, per the AP.

  • The suspects: Tad Bert Cullum, 43; Tifany Machel Adams, 54; Cole Earl Twombly, 50; and Cora Twombly, 44, were arrested and booked into the Texas County Jail. They face charges of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and kidnapping. NewsNation reports that Adams is the grandmother of Butler's kids, while Cullum is Adams' boyfriend. The Twomblys, meanwhile, appear to be in a long-term relationship and are friends with Adams on Facebook, per the New York Post.

  • The bodies: On Sunday, the OSBI reported that "two deceased persons" were found in Texas County. Although the bodies haven't yet been identified, the agency posted this announcement as an update to the arrests. The remains are being sent to the medical examiner's office for identification and to determine the cause of death.
  • Custody commotion? NewsNation had previously reported on a rough custody battle between Butler and the father of her kids, with Butler filing a petition for full custody just 10 days before the women went missing. Kelley, meanwhile, was believed to be the official who accompanied Butler to supervised visits with her children. The court documents suggested things had gone sour between Butler and Adams, who was apparently taking care of Butler's children.
(More missing persons stories.)

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