Remains recovered in a rural Oklahoma county have been positively identified as 4-year-old Athena Brownfield, authorities said Thursday.
Brownfield, of Cyril, had been missing for several weeks. In a brief news release, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation said that the state’s office of the chief medical examiner positively identified the remains recovered on Jan. 17 as Brownfield. The remains were found in Grady County near Rush Springs.
The agency did not elaborate, citing a gag order filed in Caddo County District Court.
“There is no additional comment on the investigation from the OSBI,” the statement read.
The request for the gag order was filed in the case against Alysia Adams by her court-appointed attorney, according to The Associated Press.
According to court documents, prosecutors allege that Brownfield’s caretaker beat her to death on Dec. 25, KNXV-TV reported. Alysia Adams, 31, who was originally charged with two counts of child neglect, told investigators that her husband, Ivon Adams, 36, killed the girl, according to court records obtained by KOKI-TV.
Ivon Adams was arrested Jan. 12 in Phoenix and is facing one count of first-degree murder and child neglect, KNXV reported. Alysia Adams was arrested the same day in Maricopa County, Arizona, on two counts of child neglect, KOKI reported.
The child was first reported missing on Jan. 10 after a postal carrier found Brownfield’s 5-year-old sister outside their home without adult supervision.
The Adamses had been caring for Athena and her sister, who are related to Alysia Adams, according to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. They were left in their care about two years ago by their biological mother, Jasmin Brownfield, according to an affidavit obtained by KSWO-TV.
Alysia Adams allegedly told police that around midnight CST on Dec. 25, Ivon Adams beat Athena Brownfield and held her up by her arms until she stopped moving, CBS News reported, citing court documents. Then he punched the girl three times in the chest and left the house around 1 a.m. on Dec. 26, documents allege.
CBS News, citing court documents, reported that Ivon Adams returned later and told his wife that he had buried Athena near the fence line near their former residence in Rush Springs. Court documents stated that Ivon Adams placed a large broken branch over the child’s burial site.
Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story misreported the dates of arrest and the charges faced by Ivon Adams and Alysia Adams.