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Crime News Missing Persons

Missing Oklahoma 4-Year-Old Was Allegedly Beaten To Death On Christmas, Court Records Reveal

State officials have shifted the missing persons case of Athena Brownfield into a "recovery operation" after the arrests of the child's alleged caregivers, one of whom is charged with first-degree murder. 

By Jax Miller
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A missing Oklahoma girl was beaten to death on Christmas while in the care two people tasked with watching over her, newly released court records allege.

Ivon Neil Adams, 36, has been charged with first-degree murder in the presumed death of 4-year-old Athena Brownfield, who has been the subject of a missing persons investigation since Jan. 10, according to court records obtained by Oxygen.com. Ivon was arrested on Thursday in Phoenix, Arizona, the same day his wife, Alysia Adams, 31, was arrested in Caddo County, Oklahoma, on two charges of child neglect, as previously announced by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI).

On Monday, state officials said they feared the worst.

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“The search for missing Cyril 4-year-old Athena Brownfield is now considered a recovery operation,” said the OSBI. “Special agents from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, along with our partners at the Oklahoma Highway Patrol (OHP), have been searching areas of Caddo County for the toddler’s remains.”

The frantic search for Athena began on Jan. 10 when a postal carrier found Athena’s 5-year-old sister — who has not been publicly named — unattended near their West Nebraska Road home in Cyril, about 70 miles southwest of Oklahoma City.

Police handouts of Alysia Adams and Ivon Adams

The older sister allegedly told authorities that she wandered outside because she was “tired of being alone,” according to a newly released probable cause affidavit obtained by Oxygen.com.

Court records state the sisters lived with the Adamses for one-and-a-half to two years, with the older child never being enrolled in school and neither child ever reported to have seen a doctor.

A police handout of missing girl Athena Brownfield

Alysia — whom state officials say is biologically related to the children — told investigators that her husband beat Athena to death on Dec. 25 at around midnight, at one point holding the child down by her arms, according to the probable cause affidavit.

Ivon allegedly punched the child at least three times in the chest, with Alysia reporting that Athena “never moved after that,” according to court records.

“[Athena] was not moving and her eyes were barely open,” according to the charging documents.

Alysia said Ivon left the Cyril residence with Athena about an hour later on Dec. 26 at around 1 a.m., the affidavit stated. When Ivon returned, he allegedly told his wife that he buried the child near a fence line in Rush Springs — about 20 miles southeast of Cyril — where the married couple once lived.

Phone records allegedly show Ivon’s phone leaving the Cyril residence and heading toward Rush Springs on Dec. 26 between 4:15 a.m. and 5:30 a.m.

Ivon allegedly claimed he left a large branch atop the burial site. However, there have been no reports of the child’s remains having been recovered, despite a massive week-long search that included infrared helicopters and drones, as well as local volunteers and soldiers from the nearby Fort Sill U.S. Army base assisting with ground searches.

Officials previously announced trash services in Cyril had been suspended.

The Search Team For Athena Brownfield

The state bureau is now asking that volunteers don’t take the search into their own hands, according to Monday’s release.

“The OSBI is asking that the public not self-deploy to search for Athena,” state officials stated. “Individuals who search for Athena on their own could be trespassing or worse, interfering with the investigation by contaminating potential evidence.”

Search and Recovery volunteer Kathy Bingham of Stephens County, Oklahoma — who was part of the initial ground searches — told Oxygen.com the event was a “whirlwind” filled with “confusion, sadness, [and] anger.”

“Now we are all outraged,” Bingham said, referring to the missing persons case now being investigated as a homicide. “We hope Athena will be found and justice will be served for her.”

Ivon is reportedly in the Maricopa County jail in Arizona, awaiting extradition to Oklahoma, according to the OSBI. However, county jail records reviewed by Oxygen.com do not list him in their system, nor does he appear in the Caddo County Jail, where his wife is currently housed.

Athena stands at about 3 feet tall and weighs about 45 pounds with light brown hair and blue eyes. She was last seen wearing a pink butterfly sweater and pink pants.

The 5-year-old sister remains in protective custody, the OSBI stated in Monday’s release.

Anyone with information is urged to contact the OSBI at 1-800-522-8017 or e-mail information to tips.osbi.ok.gov. Tipsters can remain anonymous.

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