Oklahoma police have arrested the caregivers of a 4-year-old girl who was reported missing after a postal carrier found her sister wandering alone outside, as one of the suspects now faces a murder charge in connection with the child’s disappearance, authorities said.
Local authorities began searching for Athena Brownfield Tuesday afternoon, when the postal worker discovered her 5-year-old sister and notified police, according to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, which is also involved in the search.
Alysia Adams, 31, was arrested Thursday afternoon in Grady County, Oklahoma, on two counts of child neglect, the agency said. Her husband, Ivon Adams, 36, was taken into custody in Arizona on Thursday and is currently at the Maricopa County Jail awaiting extradition to Oklahoma on one count of murder in the first degree and one count of child neglect, it said.
A spokesperson for the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, Brook Arbeitman, told ABC News she could not release more information on the charges amid the active investigation.
During a Friday court appearance in Maricopa County, Ivon Adams waived his right to an extradition hearing.
“I need to get there and fight this,” he told the court.
The two sisters were reportedly in the couple’s care when the 5-year-old was found alone outside their home in Cyril, police said. Authorities would not comment at this time on how they became the primary caregivers of the children.
Meanwhile, the search for Athena continues, authorities said Friday.
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol on Wednesday issued a missing and endangered person alert for Athena to people in a 15-mile radius of Cyril, located about 70 miles southwest of Oklahoma City.
Law enforcement is working to put together an exact timeline of when Athena was last seen, according to Arbeitman.
Her sister did not require any medical care and currently is in protective custody with the state, Arbeitman said.
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and soldiers from Fort Sill are among those assisting in the search, Arbeitman said. State troopers were conducting sonar searches of bodies of water in and around Cyril on Wednesday. Search dogs from the Oklahoma Department of Corrections and drones from the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs have also been employed in the search.
Volunteers also helped conduct a grid search, looking in vacant houses and local waterways, police said.
Arbeitman said authorities are finding items in town that “could be relevant” and helpful to the case, though did not elaborate.
“We are finding things that we hope might give us clues,” she said.
Trash service in the town has been suspended amid the search “in an effort to search for additional clues as to Athena’s whereabouts,” Arbeitman told reporters Thursday.
Law enforcement is encouraging residents and businesses to share any surveillance footage they may have, including doorbell cameras, as well as to search their properties.
Athena is described by authorities as being 3 feet tall and 45 pounds with light brown hair and blue eyes. Police believe she was recently wearing a butterfly hoodie.
Anyone with information on her whereabouts is asked to contact the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations at 800-522-8017 or firstname.lastname@example.org.