4 charged with murder after bodies of missing Kansas women found

Julia Thatcher, Laura McMillan, and Ryan Newton

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Four people arrested in connection with the disappearance of two Kansas women are now facing multiple charges, including murder and kidnapping.

Veronica Butler, 27, and Jilian Kelley, 39, of Hugoton, Kansas, disappeared on March 30 while driving into Oklahoma to pick up Butler’s children. Over the weekend, authorities found two bodies, which the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) has since identified as Butler and Kelley.

The medical examiner hasn’t yet released a cause of death.

Veronica Butler, 27, and Jilian Kelley, 39 (Courtesy: OSBI)

A day before the bodies were found, the OSBI said four people — Tifany Adams, 54; Tad Cullum, 43; Cole Twombly, 50; and Cora Twombly, 44 — had been taken into custody in connection with the case. Adams has since been identified as the grandmother of Butler’s children, and the girlfriend of Cullum.

All four are each charged with two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of kidnapping and one count of conspiracy to commit murder. They made their initial court appearances Wednesday morning in Texas County, Oklahoma. Julia Thatcher of Nexstar’s KSNW was in the courtroom and described the scene in court as very emotional.

The images below, captured by KSNW, show Cullum, Adams, and the Trumbleys arriving for their court appearances.

The judge ordered the four suspects to be held without bond, citing that “proof of evidence or presumption of guilt is great.”

Arrest affidavits released Monday revealed that Adams was involved in a custody dispute with Butler. All four suspects were reportedly involved in an anti-government group called “God’s Misfits.”

Adams, Cullum, and Cole Twombly will hire their own attorneys. Cora Twombly said she is indigent, so the court will appoint an attorney to represent her.

The next court appearance in the case is May 15.

Authorities have not released any additional information regarding the case.

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