Suspects in Kansas women’s deaths are members of ‘God’s Misfits’: affidavit

Photos released by the OSBI showing Veronica Butler, 27, (L) and Jilian Kelley, 39, (R).

Authorities are releasing more details in the case of two women from Kansas who went missing last month while on a trip to pick up children for a birthday party.

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) confirmed this week that Veronica Butler, 27, and Jilian Kelley, 39, were dead, and that four people had been charged with murder and kidnapping:

  • Tifany Machel Adams, 54
  • Tad Bert Cullum, 43
  • Cole Earl Twombly, 50
  • Cora Twombly, 44 

This combination of booking photo provided by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation shows Cole Earl Twombly, top left, Tad Bert Cullum, top right, Tifany Machel Adams, bottom left, and Cora Twombly, bottom right. On Saturday, April 13, 2024, Okl

Authorities said Monday the two women were killed over a custody dispute involving a group of anti-government Oklahomans calling themselves "God’s Misfits."

Ongoing custody battle

Court documents reportedly show one of the suspects, Adams, is the grandmother of the children at the center of the case, and mother of Butler’s former romantic partner. 

Arrest affidavits said the children are aged 6 and 8, and that their mother, Butler, and grandmother, Adams, were in a "problematic custody battle." The kids’ father was in a rehabilitation facility hours away in Oklahoma City.

Butler was allowed only supervised visits with the children each Saturday. Kelley, the wife of a pastor in Hugoton, was Butler’s court-authorized choice to supervise visitations.

Butler's request for more time with her children and unsupervised visitation was likely to be granted at an upcoming hearing in April, Butler’s attorney told investigators.

RELATED: Missing women from Kansas confirmed dead; 4 charged

"God’s Misfits" in Oklahoma

Documents show Callum is Adams’ boyfriend, and the Twomblys are husband and wife. 

All meet regularly with several others in a group they call "God’s Misfits," their arrest affidavits said. 

Affidavits said Adams told investigators she left her grandchildren with another couple on March 29 and 30, which is the day Butler and Kelley drove to meet and pick up the kids. The affidavit said that couple regularly hosted the "God’s Misfits" meetings. 

Not much is known about the group, except they are a self-proclaimed anti-government group in Oklahoma

Vehicle scene

When authorities found Butler and Kelley’s vehicle on March 30, they said foul play was suspected based on what was found. 

Authorities have now released more details in the arrest affidavits about what was discovered at the scene: 

  • Butler’s family found the vehicle just a few miles from the meet-up spot after the women missed the party in Kansas.
  • Blood was found on the roadway and the edge of the roadway.
  • Butler’s glasses were found in the roadway south of the vehicle, near a broken hammer. 
  • A pistol magazine was found inside Kelley’s purse at the scene, but no pistol was found.

Evidence of planned killings

The affidavit also stated that investigators had evidence of planned killings.

Adams bought pre-paid "burner" cellphones to communicate and five stun guns at a nearby store, and her internet searches included asking about pain levels using the weapons, the affidavits said.

A teenage witness told authorities that Cora Twombly said that at one point, "the plan was to throw an anvil through Butler’s windshield while driving, making it look like an accident because anvils regularly fall off of work vehicles."

On March 29, the grandmother’s boyfriend, Cullum, used heavy equipment to dig a hole in a pasture he rented, not far from the meet-up site, the affidavits said.

Authorities wouldn’t say at Monday’s news conference where the bodies were found, but the affidavits said some of the "burner phones" stopped transmitting that morning in the vicinity of the pasture, where "a hole had been dug and filled back in and then covered with hay."

Medical examiner’s report pending

Two bodies were recovered in rural Oklahoma, a day after the four suspects were charged with murder and kidnapping.

OSBI spokesman Hunter McKee said the bodies' identities and causes of death are pending a medical examiner’s report.

Authorities said the affidavits weren’t unsealed until after the children’s safety was assured. 

"We were successful. No shots were fired and the children were kept out of harm’s way," said District Attorney George Leach III.

This story was reported from Detroit. The Associated Press contributed.