In an update posted to Facebook on Monday, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation revealed the search for missing 4-year-old Athena Brownfield is now being considered a ‘recovery operation.’ Authorities have been searching for Athena since being reported missing on January 10 – six days ago.
On that day, a postal worker found Athena’s five-year-old sister outside the home of Alysia Adams – who is a relative and caregiver to both girls, along with her husband Ivon Adams. The postal carrier notified the Cyril Police Department immediately, which is when authorities discovered that Athena was missing.
The search for Athena Brownfield began immediately, with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol (OHP) concluding a grid search of the entire town on January 11th – including ‘every known vacant house and local waterways.’ Authorities had nothing to show for it, but they also weren’t ready to give up just yet.
On January 13th, community members received another update from the State Bureau, this time alerting the community of two arrests – both Alysia and Ivon Adams – made on Jan. 12 in connection to Athena Brownfield’s disappearance. They were immediately booked as authorities continued their search.
Ivon Adams, 36, was charged with one count of first-degree murder and one count of child neglect. According to the State Bureau, he is currently being held in the Maricopa County Jail. His wife, Alysia Adams, 31, was charged with two counts of child neglect and is being held in Caddo County Jail.
That brings us to January 16, when the bureau announced they’re no longer considering the operation a rescue, but instead a recovery of the little girl’s remains. They confirmed Alysia and Ivon were Athena’s caretakers – as well as her 5-year-old sister – for at least a year leading up to her disappearance.
The bureau also confirmed they’ve interviewed Athena’s biological parents and that they continue to cooperate with the investigation. The bureau made it clear that neither Alysia nor Ivon have been convicted of a crime and are ‘presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.’
Authorities Ask Public Not to Interfere With Search for Athena Brownfield
Although Athena is no longer presumed to be alive, the search for her remains and the investigation are still very much ongoing as there are still a number of questions that must be answered. As a result, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation is asking the public to refrain from conducting personal searches.
“The OSBI is asking that the public not self-deploy to search for Athena. Individuals who search for Athena on their own could be trespassing or worse, interfering with the investigation by contaminating potential evidence,” the bureau explained in the statement. They also asked to avoid any speculation.
“Please refrain from speculation regarding what the investigation has revealed to this point. Rumors on social media will not help the investigation and may instead hinder our progress,” they added, before asking anyone with information or tips to contact their tipline at (800) 522-8017 or [email protected]
With no additional information being provided and no media briefing scheduled at this time, all we can do is wait for the next update and hope it brings some level of clarity to the community – who are eager to understand what happened. Our hearts go out to Athena Brownfield, her sister, and those affected.
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