21 May, 2024

Four People Arrested in Connection with Women’s Disappearance

by | 14 April, 2024 | 0 comments

(UPDATE: On Sunday night, law enforcement officials reported they have found two bodies. See our article.)

Four people have been arrested in connection with the disappearance of two missing Kansas women—including a Christian church pastor’s wife. 


All four of those arrested have been booked into an Oklahoma jail on two counts each of first-degree murder and kidnapping, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation said. 

Jilian Kelley, 39, and Veronica Butler, 27, have been missing since March 30 when they traveled together into Oklahoma to pick up Butler’s children. They never reached their destination. 

Kelley is the wife of Heath Kelley, pastor of Hugoton First Christian Church.  

The women’s disappearance has garnered widespread media attention.  

On Saturday evening, the OSBI announced it had arrested four people in connection with the case: Tifany Machel Adams, 54; Tad Bert Cullum, 43; Cole Earl Twombly, 50; and Cora Twombly, 44. Each of the four was booked into the Texas County Jail on two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of kidnapping, and one count of conspiracy to commit murder in the first degree. The OSBI’s announcement did not provide a motive.

“The OSBI and local law enforcement are still currently working to locate the two victims,” the agency said on its Facebook page

KAKE.com reported the Oklahoma Highway Patrol on Saturday had canceled its “endangered missing advisory” for Kelley and Butler. 

KSN.com on Saturday said “a caravan of law enforcement was at two separate locations” searching for the women. 

The women on March 30 had left Hugoton, Kan., to pick up Butler’s children in Oklahoma. Their vehicle was found abandoned along a rural highway in northwest Oklahoma, about 40 miles from Hugoton. 

Days into the case, the OSBI said it suspected “foul play” may have been involved in the women’s disappearance based on information gathered from the abandoned vehicle.  

The OSBI later said it wasn’t sure whether the women were still alive. 

NewsNation is reporting that blood was found both inside and outside the abandoned vehicle. 

Late last fall, Heath Kelley accepted a call to serve as minister with Willow Christian Church in Indianola, Neb. He hasn’t yet started that pastorate.   

Both the Kansas and Nebraska congregations have held prayer meetings while awaiting word about the two women.  

Willow Christian Church is a campus of McCook Christian Church in Nebraska. MCC on Saturday offered up a prayer on Facebook thanking God “for guiding officers to the clues needed to begin to receive the answers necessary to find Jilian and Veronica.” 

The prayer continued, “In a situation that is scary and maddening, we can rest knowing that you are at work in all the details.” 


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