Update – Jan. 30: Authorities confirmed that the remains found on Jan. 17 belonged to Athena Brownfield, 4.
“Due to a gag order filed in Caddo County District Court, there is no additional comment on the investigation from the OSBI,” they wrote.
Our original story is below.
During their search for missing four-year-old Athena Brownfield, investigators have announced that they found a child’s remains. They did not say if it was her.
“The remains will be transported to the Medical Examiner’s Office in Oklahoma City for positive identification,” the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation said. “This is a active homicide investigation and until the remains are positively identified, the OSBI will not be commenting further.”
Authorities previously said they believe she died. Her male caretaker Ivon Adams, 36, allegedly beat her to death. He was arrested on Thursday in Phoenix, Arizona, and waived extradition back to Caddo County, Oklahoma, for a count each of murder in the first degree and child neglect.
His wife Alysia Adams, 31, is in jail in Caddo County for two counts of child neglect.
In court documents, authorities said that a postal carrier encountered Brownfield’s five-year-old sister wandering outside the family’s home in Cyril, Oklahoma. The child, identified only as A.A., “was forensically interviewed and disclosed she had been home alone and she is tired of being alone.” The girl said she called Alysia “mom,” and Ivon both “Dad” and “Uncle Ivon.”
The children’s biological mother left them in the couple’s care approximately one-and-a-half to two years before, documents said.
“Alysia and Ivon never took A.A. and [Brownfield] to the doctor for check-ups and did not enroll A.A. into school,” authorities said.
Investigators claimed they spoke to Alysia.
“Alysia reported to Special Agent Rachel Flores that they have left the children home alone in the past,” authorities wrote. “Due to these circumstances, we believe Alysia committed Child Neglect.”
But authorities said they tracked Ivon Adams’ whereabouts during the search for Brownfield. They determined that his phone left the family home and traveled near Rush Springs, Oklahoma, where he and his wife used to have a home. This was between 4:15 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. on Dec. 26. Rush Springs is an estimated drive of more than 21 miles from Cyril.
Alysia allegedly told investigators about the murder in a post-Miranda interview.
“Alysia confessed that on December 25, 2022, around midnight that night, Ivon beat [Brownfield] and held her up by her arms,” authorities wrote. “[Brownfield] was not moving and her eyes were barely open. He then laid her on the ground and punched her at least three more times in her chest. [Brownfield] never moved after that.”
Ivon allegedly left at around 1 a.m. on Dec. 26, 2022, with Brownfield.
“When he arrived back, he told Alysia that he buried her near a fence line that was next to their old residence in Rush Springs,” authorities wrote. “He informed her he placed a large broken branch over the burial site.”
As part of their work, investigators are almost sure to look for forensic evidence to back up this account. For example, blood spatter, said Heidi Sievers, a certified bloodstain pattern analyst, criminal justice and forensics professor, and a former forensic investigator and K9 handler for the Pasco Sheriff’s Office in Florida.
“So in that situation, they would be looking to extensively examine the residence (or wherever the beating occurred) for presence of blood,” she told Law&Crime, speaking on Tuesday before the announcement about the child’s remains. “It is almost impossible for suspects to fully clean up the blood to the point BlueStar [a bloodstain test] cannot detect it or that minute spatter stains would not be visible.”
There’s also the matter of the family’s home.
“The residence would need to be combed over with lighted magnification loupes for the presence of small spatter stains on baseboards, walls, ceiling, bottoms of curtains, blinds, carpet, chair legs, etc.,” she said.
Sources of minute spatter might include Brownfield’s nose or mouth if injuries to the airway happened or if blood accumulated in her mouth.
“Further, even if the blood evidence (saturation or pooling) was cleaned, BlueStar’s dilution of 1:10,000 is still sensitive to detect it,” she wrote. “Even the use of bleach and soap/water cannot completely eliminate the possibility of a positive chemiluminescent reaction.”
Investigators will also likely have to look for Ivon Adams’ bloody clothing, “even if washed,” whatever vehicle Adams allegedly used to move the body, and also the shovel used to bury Brownfield, she wrote.
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