Saturday, 54-year-old Tifany Machel Adams, 43-year-old Tad Bert Cullum, 50-year-old Cole Earl Twombly, and 44-year-old Cora Twombly were arrested in Texas and Cimarron counties. All four individuals were booked into the Texas County Jail on two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of kidnapping and one count of conspiracy to commit murder in the first degree. Courtesy photos

ROBERT PIERCE

 • Leader & Times

 

Law enforcement have released more information in the case of two missing Hugoton women whose vehicle was found abandoned in late March south of Elkhart.

Saturday, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation issued a press release saying four individuals had been arrested after agents investigated the vehicle and determined there was evidence to indicate foul play in the suspicious disappearance of 27-year-old Veronica Butler and 39-year-old Jilian Kelly.

“On April 13, 43-year-old Tad Bert Cullum, 54-year-old Tiffany Machel Adams, 50-year-old Cole Earl Twombly and 44-year-old Cora Twombly were arrested in Texas and Cimarron counties,” the release said. “All four individuals were booked into the Texas County Jail on two counts of first degree murder, two counts of kidnapping and one count of conspiracy to commit murder in the first degree.”

OSBI and local law enforcement are still currently working to locate the two victims. However, the OSBI, FBI, the Texas County Sheriff’s Department and the Office of the Oklahoma Chief Medical Examiner reported recovering two deceased persons Sunday in rural Texas County.

It is not known at this time if either deceased person is Butler or Kelly, and the individuals will be transported to the Medical Examiner’s Office to determine identification, as well as the cause and manner of death.

OSBI said the investigation is ongoing, and anyone with information regarding this case is asked to contact OSBI at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 1-800-522-8017.

“Our agency would like to thank the Texas County Sheriff’s Department, FBI, Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Kansas Bureau of Investigation, Kansas Highway Patrol and several other local agencies for assisting us with this case,” the OSBI release concluded.

The Texas County Court Clerk’s office released an affidavit for Adams, in which interviews uncovered Butler was in a problematic custody battle with Adams for the custody of Butler’s two children.

“Butler’s visitation with her children was court ordered to be supervised every Saturday,” the affidavit said. “Adams had a particular person she preferred to supervise those visitations, and that was Cheryl Brune. The court ordered Adams to pay Brune to supervise visits that was who she wanted to be present. Otherwise, Butler was to choose and pay for the person to supervise.”

March 30, the affidavit said, Adams said Brune was unavailable to supervise the visitation, so Butler contacted Kelley and planned to have her supervise the visit.

After the abandoned vehicle arrived at State Highway 95 and Road L in Texas County by Butler’s family members, Melissa and Joey Padilla, contacted law enforcement shortly after noon.

“An examination of the vehicle and area surrounding the vehicle found evidence of a severe injury,” the affidavit said. “Blood was found on the roadway and edge of the roadway. Butler’s glasses were also 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.”

The affidavit went on to say after Butler’s children stayed the night with Barrett and Lacy Cook, Adams said she planned to pick them up that morning before the visitation.

“Adams said she called Butler at (9 a.m.) to confirm the meeting, and Butler told Adams something came and she was not going to make it,” the affidavit said. “Butler’s phone records confirmed the call occurred. However, at the time of the call, Butler was in Hugoton in the process of picking Kelley up to go meet Adams. Adams stated she was home at the time Butler and Kelley went missing. Adams picked up the children before (noon) from the Cooks’ residence.”

The affidavit later said through the child custody case, recordings were obtained where Wrangler Rickman, the father of the children, discussed death threats with Adams and her boyfriend, Cullum.

“The custody battle began in February of 2019 with many hearings and court appearances,” the affidavit said. “March 18 and March 20, 2024, motions were filed requesting extended visitation for Butler.”

The affidavit went on to say a hearing was scheduled for April 17.

“Butler’s attorney informed OSBI Butler was likely to receive unsupervised visitation with her children at that hearing,” the affidavit said. “At times, Adams refused to let Rickman have his children, even though Rickman had legal custody of them. Law enforcement previously responded to a call for service when Adams refused to give Rickman his children. Reportedly, the officer told Rickman he believed the children were better off in Adams’ care.”

The affidavit added Rickman’s grandmother, Debi Knox-Davis, reported in February, Rickman told her they did not have to worry about the custody battle much longer because Adams had it under control.

“Adams knew the path the judge walked to work, and ‘we will take out Veronica at drop off,’” the affidavit said. “Rickman was confirmed to be in a rehabilitation facility in Oklahoma City at the time of the disappearance. The children remain in the custody of Adams. Rickman denied having that conversation with Knox.”

April 1, the affidavit said, OSBI agents obtained a search warrant for Adams’ cell phone and performed an extraction of the device.

“Information gained from the device included web searches for taser pain level, gun shops, prepaid cellular phones and how to get someone out of the house,” the affidavit said.

On April 3, agent interviews the 16-year-old daughter of suspect Cora Twombly. The teen said she had overheard a conversation related to Butler not protecting her children from Butler’s brother, which was in reference to a sexual abuse allegation.

The teen said Cora told her that Adams had provided “burner” phones so the suspects could communicate without using their personal devices. The teen reported seeing two "burner" phones charging on Cora’s nightstand in her bedroom.

Cora reportedly told her daughter that Cora and her husband, Cole Twombly, were going on a “mission” on March 30. The teen awoke at 10 a.m. that day, and Cora and Cole were not home. They arrived at around noon and the teen was told to clean the interior of a Chevrolet pickup.

The teen asked Cora what happened and was told that “things did not go as planned, but that they wound not have to worry about her (Butler) ever again.”

“(The teen) was told that Cora and Cole blocked to road to stop Butler and Kelley and divert them to where Adams and the fourth suspect were. (The teen) asked about Kelley and why she had to died and was told by Cora that she wasn't innocent either, as she had supported Butler,” the affidavit said

The affidavit said there were other attempts to kill Butler in February near Hugoton in which the four suspects and the fifth person went to Hugoton, but Butler did not leave her home. That is “consistent with the web search discovered on Adams’ phone about how to get someone out of their house.”

“According to Cora, the plan was to throw an anvil through Butler's windshield while driving, making it look like an accident because anvils regularly fall off work vehicles,” the affidavit said.

The OSBI investigation showed that Adams bought five stun guns in Guymon on March 30 and three pre-paid cell phones in Guymon on Feb. 13. It was learned that those three phones were at the area where Butler’s car was found.

After the women disappeared, the phones were at a property about 8.5 miles away from where the abandoned vehicle was found. Fresh dirt work was located below a dam in a pasture.

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