Missing 4-Year-Old Athena Brownfield Was Beaten to Death on Christmas Day by Male Caretaker, Authorities Say

Four-year-old Athena Brownfield was declared missing last week in the tiny town of Cyril, Oklahoma. An arrest warrant now claims she was beaten to death on Christmas Day.

A 4-year-old girl declared missing last week in Oklahoma was beaten to death on Christmas Day by her male caregiver, who buried her and left the state, according to an arrest affidavit released Tuesday.

Little Athena Brownfield was identified as a missing child last week after her 5-year-old sister was found wandering alone outside their home, authorities said.

Both girls had been in the custody of Ivon and Alysia Adams for as long as two years, officials said. But there were no adults inside the home, authorities said.

Ivon and Alysia Adams were arrested later in the week. The man, 36, was apprehended in Arizona and has been charged with murder and child neglect, authorities said. The woman was arrested in Oklahoma and has been charged with two counts of child neglect, according to online jail records. 

According to an arrest affidavit filed in Caddo County and released Tuesday, Alysia Adams, 31, told state investigators on Jan. 12 that Ivon beat Athena and held her up by her arms. The child was not moving and "her eyes were barely open," the affidavit claims. Ivon then laid Athena on the ground and punched her at least three more times in the chest, the affidavit says.

Alysia told investigators that Ivon then left the home around 1 a.m. on Dec. 26, taking the child with him, the affidavit says. When he returned, he said he had buried her near a home where they used to live, and covered the site with a tree branch, according to the affidavit.

Late Monday, the Oklahoma Bureau of Investigation, which is leading the criminal investigation, announced the search for Athena was now a "recovery" operation. The child's body has not been found.

Her 5-year-old sister is in protective custody, authorities said. When interviewed by investigators who found her outside her home, the child said she was by herself and was "tired of being alone," the affidavit said. 

Ivon Adams was being held at the Maricopa County Jail in Arizona, and will be extradited to Oklahoma to face murder and neglect charges, state investigators said. Alysia Adams was being held at the Caddo County Jail, according to online records.

The sisters had never been enrolled in school or taken to a doctor, the affidavit alleges.

Authorities have not disclosed why the girls were living with the couple, or identified their biological parents. State investigators said the children were related to Alysia Adams, but did not say how.

The investigation remains open.

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