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State Officials Confirm Human Remains Belong To Missing Oklahoma Child Athena Brownfield
A positive identification was announced one day after funeral services were held for Athena Brownfield, a child who loved "Baby Shark" and whose favorite color was purple.
A body found in rural Oklahoma is confirmed to be that of missing child Athena Brownfield.
Officials with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) announced the positive identification on Thursday, 10 days after finding human remains as part of their search for the missing 4-year-old girl.
Despite suspicions that the remains belonged to Athena, as well as a funeral home’s publication of her obituary days after the gruesome discovery, officials did not confirm the child’s identity until Thursday.
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The identification was made by the Oklahoma Office of the Chief Medical Examiner and announced one day after funeral services were held for the child.
“Due to a gag order filed in Caddo County District Court, there is no additional comment on the investigation from the OSBI,” officials said Thursday.
Ivon Neil Adams, 36, remains in custody on first-degree murder charges, while his wife, Alysia Adams, 31, is charged with two counts of child neglect. The were reportedly Athena's caregivers.
Athena was reported missing on Jan. 10 when a postal carrier found her 5-year-old sister — whose name has not been released — wandering near their Cyril, Oklahoma, residence, about 70 miles southwest of Oklahoma City.
Athena was nowhere to be found, leading to a massive search involving multiple law enforcement agencies.
Two days later, on Jan. 12, the OSBI announced the arrests of Alysia in Caddo County and Ivon some 900 miles away in Phoenix, Arizona.
Ivon was released from the Maricopa County Jail on Jan. 19 and transferred to another agency, according to ABC Oklahoma City affiliate KOCO-TV. Jail records show he was booked into the Caddo County Jail in Oklahoma the same day, where his wife is also housed.
Officials say Alysia — who is somehow biologically related to the young sisters, though officials haven't revealed the specific nature of their relationship — claimed she watched Ivon kill Athena sometime around midnight on Dec. 25, according to a probable cause affidavit reviewed by Oxygen.com. She allegedly said Ivon held the child down by her arms and punched her three times in the chest until the victim was no longer moving.
Alysia alleged her husband admitted to driving the unresponsive child 20 miles southeast to Rush Springs — where the married couple had previously lived — though it remains unclear if the child was dead at this time.
Ivon allegedly admitted to burying the child near a fence line, placing a tree branch to mark the site, his wife told authorities.
Officials found Athena’s body in Rush Springs on Jan. 17.
A cause of death has not been revealed.
Investigators state Athena and her sister were placed in Ivon and Alysia’s care one and a half to two years prior to Athena’s death, according to the affidavit. Athena was not enrolled in school, and investigators found no evidence to indicate either one of the children had ever visited a doctor.
Questions have swirled about Athena and her sister’s biological parents, and while they’ve not been officially identified, state agents said they’ve been interviewed and are “cooperating with the investigation.”
The parents were named, however, in an online obituary published by Amy Stittsworth Funeral Service and Cremation Directors before a positive identification was made, which was widely reported by local outlets.
According to the announcement, Athena Alexandria Brownfield was born on Sept. 6, 2018, in Lawton, Oklahoma — about 30 miles southwest of Cyril. She spent the first part of her life in Nebraska and then in Oklahoma.
"Athena loved to color and ‘Baby Shark,'" the obituary reads. “She and her sister were close, ‘joined at the hip.’ Athena enjoyed playing dress-up. Her favorite color was purple.”
A public funeral service was held Wednesday in Enid, according to KOCO-TV.
Ivon Adams remains at the Caddo County jail without bond, while his wife remains on $500,000 bond, according to Fox Oklahoma City affiliate KOKH-TV. Ivon is expected to appear in court on April 27.
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