Fifth arrest made in connection to deaths of 2 Kansas women

GUYMON, Okla. − A fifth person accused of belonging to an anti-government group called "God's Misfits" was arrested and charged Wednesday in connection to the deaths of two Kansas women who went missing in the Oklahoma Panhandle, officials said.

Paul Jeremiah Grice, 31, was arrested and booked into the Texas County Jail on Wednesday, according to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI). He faces two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of kidnapping, and one count of conspiracy to commit murder.

Veronica Butler, 27, and Jilian Kelley, 39, of Hugoton, Kansas, disappeared on March 30 while they were on their way to pick up Butler's two children but never made it to the pickup location. Two bodies were recovered in rural Texas County, Oklahoma, on April 14 in a hole and authorities later identified the bodies as Butler and Kelley.

Grice was interviewed Tuesday and admitted that he was involved in the planning of the deaths, an OSBI agent revealed in an arrest affidavit. Grice also admitted "that he participated in the killing of Butler and Kelley and their subsequent burial."

"This is still an ongoing investigation at this time," the OSBI said in a news release Wednesday

Four others have already been arrested and charged in connection with the women's murders. Tifany Adams, 54, her boyfriend, Tad Bert Cullum, 43, and a married couple, Cole Earl Twombly, 50, and Cora Twombly, 44 were arrested on April 13 in Texas and Cimarron counties, according to the OSBI.

All four suspects 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, the OSBI said.

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Women's disappearance coincided with custody battle

Butler and Kelley were kidnapped and killed on March 30, prosecutors said.

Adams and Butler were in a "problematic custody battle" over Butler’s two young children, the OSBI revealed earlier. The father of the children is Wrangler Rickman, Adams’ 26-year-old son, and the grandmother had been taking care of the children for months at her home in Keyes.

On the day of Butler's disappearance, Adams had been taking care of the children and Butler had come from Kansas to pick up her two children from Adams. Butler had planned to take them to a birthday party and Kelley, a pastor's wife, was along to supervise her visit.

Butler's car was found abandoned in rural Texas County — near Highway 95 and Road L, just south of Elkhart, Kansas, and the Oklahoma-Kansas border. At the scene, authorities found blood and Butler's glasses in the roadway near a broken hammer in addition to a pistol magazine inside Kelley's purse, but no pistol was found.

After her arrest, Adams made statements to law enforcement indicating she was responsible for the deaths, the OSBI said last week in a court affidavit.

The OSBI confirmed that the bodies were found on property leased by Cullum to graze cattle.

Five suspect identified as members of 'God's Misfits'

All five defendants have been identified as belonging to God's Misfits. The OSBI reported that the group had regular meetings at Twombly's home and another couple's home.

A key witness in the case is Cora Twombly's 16-year-old daughter. The witness said she "was told that Cora and Cole blocked the road to stop Butler and Kelley and divert them to where Adams, Cullum and Grice were," according to OSBI affidavits.

"OSBI learned that Grice, Cullum and Adams had cellular phone conversations amongst each other on March 30, 2024, in the morning hours, prior to the disappearance," according to the newest affidavit. "Grice and Cullum were together at Grice's home, after the disappearance ... on the same day."

No attorney was listed in the case yet for Grice. The other defendants have been appointed attorneys, who have a policy of not talking to the media.

"At a hearing scheduled for April 17, 2024, Butler would potentially have been granted unsupervised visitation with her children," the OSBI said in affidavits. "Adams vehemently opposed this and went to great lengths to plan and purchase items used in Butler and Kelley's murders."

Contributing: Josh Dulaney and Sarah Al-Arshani, USA TODAY NETWORK

This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: Missing Kansas women: Authorities make fifth arrest in case