A man jailed in Arizona is facing a murder charge in connection with the disappearance of a 4-year-old Oklahoma girl he had been caring for, authorities said Friday, adding that the search for the child was ongoing.
Ivon Adams, 36, was arrested Thursday in Arizona on one count of child neglect in the case of Athena Brownfield, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation said in a news release. Investigators said Friday evening that Adams is also facing a charge of first-degree murder, but gave no other details about what led to the charges.
“We are still looking for her,” OSBI spokesperson Brook Arbeitman said via text about Athena.
Adams is being held in the Maricopa County jail in Phoenix pending extradition to Oklahoma, the OSBI said.
Earlier, Oklahoma authorities arrested Alysia Adams, 31, on two counts of child neglect, the bureau said in a statement late Thursday. Alysia Adams, who the OSBI said is married to Ivon Adams, remained jailed in Oklahoma’s Caddo County on Friday.
The bureau released no further details about the arrests. It was not clear whether either Adams had an attorney to comment on their behalf.
The arrests are related to the search for Athena, who was reported missing Tuesday in Cyril, about 70 miles (110 kilometers) southwest of Oklahoma City, the bureau said.
A postal carrier found Athena’s 5-year-old sister wandering alone outside Adams’ home Monday afternoon and alerted Cyril police. Authorities then determined that Athena was missing.
The girls had been in the care of Alysia and Ivon Adams, and Athena’s sister was taken into protective custody, the bureau said.
Authorities said they believe Athena was wearing a hoodie with a butterfly design when she disappeared.
The bureau said it was working with other law enforcement agencies and volunteers in the search, which included a helicopter, boats, all-terrain vehicles, a specially trained ground team, and a review of surveillance video from around Cyril.
The city of Cyril has also suspended trash service as investigators search for clues.
The bureau said agents were following up on tips coming from Oklahoma and other states.