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February 4, 2023
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Search for missing Oklahoma girl, 4, turns to ‘recovery operation’ to find remains

Search for missing Oklahoma girl, 4, turns to ‘recovery operation’ to find remains

Oklahoma officials looking for a missing 4-year-old girl on Tuesday found the remains of a child, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation said.

“At this time, the OSBI cannot confirm the remains are those of Athena Brownfield,” the bureau said in a statement. “The remains will be transported to the Medical Examiner’s Office in Oklahoma City for positive identification.” 

The couple who had been taking care of Athena Brownfield have been charged in connection with her disappearance.

The remains were found outside Rush Springs, a town in rural Grady County, about 60 miles south of Oklahoma City. Rush Springs is about 25 miles from Cyril, which is where Athena’s sister was spotted wandering by herself earlier this month by a postal worker.

On Monday, after a week of looking for the girl, investigators said their search had shifted to a “recovery operation” to find her remains.

Highway Patrol, troopers search a pond near Cyril, Okla., on Jan. 11, 2023, for Athena Brownfield, a 4-year-old girl missing since Jan. 10. Trooper Eric Foster / AP

Ivon Adams, 36, was arrested Thursday in Arizona and is set to be extradited to Oklahoma on charges of murder in the first degree and child neglect, the state bureau said.

His wife, Alysia Adams, 31, was arrested by the Grady County Sheriff’s Office on two counts of child neglect in connection with the case, the state bureau said. It was not clear whether either had attorneys. 

Alysia Adams was related to Athena and her 5-year-old sister, the state bureau said, adding the two siblings had been in her care for at least a year.

Officials have said the sisters’ biological parents were cooperating with the investigation and had been interviewed by authorities. Athena’s sister has been taken into protective custody, the state bureau said.

Chantal Da Silva

Chantal Da Silva is a breaking news editor for NBC News Digital based in London. 

Dennis Romero

Dennis Romero is a breaking news reporter for NBC News Digital. 

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