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Law enforcement authorities in Oklahoma have arrested the caretaker of a 4-year-old girl who has been missing since Tuesday. Alysia Adams, 30, was taken into custody on Thursday and charged with two counts of child neglect in connection with the disappearance of young Athena Brownfield, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) announced.
The agency said that both Athena and her older sister were “in the care” of Adams and her husband, who was not identified by authorities.
Officers with the Cyril Police Department began the search for Athena on Tuesday at approximately 2 p.m. after a postal carrier found Athena’s 5-year-old sister wandering outside of Adams’ house. The postal carrier knew Athena’s sister “wasn’t where she was supposed to be” and called the police to notify them that he’d found the little girl alone, OSBI public information officer Brook Arbeitman said in a case update posted to Facebook.
Shortly thereafter, police realized there was another young child still unaccounted for and requested the assistance of OSBI in continuing the search for Athena. Arbeitman on Wednesday morning said there was no evidence to indicate that Athena was in danger “other than she’s a little child and she’s missing and she’s on her own in the elements.”
Arbreitman said it was “yet to be determined” if Athena, who has “limited verbal skills,” was the victim of physical harm.
At approximately 4 p.m. on Wednesday, troopers with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol (OHP) Emergency Response Team concluded a grid search of the surrounding area with the assistance of several civilian volunteers. The volunteers were released “after searching the entire town, every known vacant house and local waterways,” authorities said.
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Stepping up the search efforts, dogs with the state department of corrections were brought in to scour the area at ground-level while drones from the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (OBNDD) were flown over the community, but the little girl’s whereabouts remained unknown as of Friday morning.
“The search for Athena continues. The OSBI is following every tip that is received, which are coming in from Oklahoma, as well as other states. In an effort to find clues as to Athena’s whereabouts, the trash service in Cyril was suspended,” OSBI said in the release. “Additionally, analysts are reviewing surveillance video from around Cyril and seeking other evidence that can help locate Athena.”
While Athena was reported missing on Jan 10, investigators with the Caddo County Sheriff’s Office said that she may have been missing since as early as Friday, Jan. 6, according to a report from Oklahoma City Fox affiliate KOKH-TV. OSBI reportedly said that investigators were still trying to put together a complete timeline of events surrounding the girl’s disappearance.
Investigators have executed a search warrant on the home of Athena’s parents, which Arbreitman said was “standard procedure” when children go missing as part of the effort “to try to find any clues as to her whereabouts.”
Authorities have urged members of the public “with a residence or business in Cyril that has a video doorbell camera” to bring that footage to the OSBI command center located at the Family Life Church in Cyril.
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