Oklahoma town grieves 4-year-old Athena Brownfield, many unanswered questions remain

In a nearby county, the remains of a child were found in dense vegetation along a deserted road, revealing the dreaded truth that the inhabitants of this rural town, located approximately 70 miles southwest of Oklahoma City, were most afraid of. The thorough investigation into Athena Brownfield’s disappearance raised unsettling inquiries about the brief existence of a young girl with captivating blue eyes.

While the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner endeavored to confirm the identity of the remains, investigators had already provided an answer that was widely accepted by the majority of the approximately 800 individuals in the community.

Where was the goddess Athena located?

On Tuesday, in the freezing winter weather, a deceased individual, who had been brutally assaulted and heartlessly abandoned, was discovered in Grady County, approximately 15 miles east of Rush Springs, after decomposing for several weeks.

However, the residents of this town and the nearby communities had additional inquiries.

On the veranda, additional individuals positioned playthings, lanterns, and greetings to include a plush creature to Brianne Madson’s assortment, residing in Cement. On Wednesday, she escorted her 7-year-old son and her newborn baby to the residence situated on West Nebraska Avenue.

Two Christmas tree ball decorations, gathering dirt, were lying in the front yard.

“It’s difficult to comprehend how someone can commit such an act against a child,” expressed Madson.

According to court documents filed by investigators, it is claimed that a caretaker is responsible for the death of Athena Brownfield, a 4-year-old girl who was reported missing on Christmas Day.

Madson said her older son also has questions, struggling to hold back tears.

“I was honest with him,” she stated. “There are individuals out there who are wicked. There are individuals who are terrible.”

Many Cyril residents, fellow Oklahomans across the state and those throughout the country who are following the case have even more questions.

Primarily, how did Athena and her elder sibling end up under the guardianship of Ivon and Alysia Adams?

Brianne Madson visits the home of 4-year-old Athena Brownfield with her son Nathan in Cyril, Okla. on Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2023.

Athena’s male caretaker, Ivon Neil Adams III, 36, was charged with first-degree murder and child neglect in Caddo County District Court, amidst a search that shook this community and brought it closer together.

Accused of repeatedly attacking Athena, he is charged with murder. On January 6th, he is accused of leaving his 5-year-old sister unattended, resulting in a charge of child neglect.

According to a court statement, Ivon Adams assaulted Athena around midnight on Christmas Day, as reported by his spouse, Alysia Adams, to an agent from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.

As per the sworn statement, Athena remained motionless subsequent to Ivon Adams placing her on the floor and delivering a minimum of three additional punches to her chest.

According to the sworn statement, he positioned a sizable fractured limb above the resting place and interred her adjacent to a boundary line neighboring their former dwelling in Rush Springs, subsequently informing Alysia that he departed around 1 in the morning on December 26th.

Ivon Adams was detained in Glendale, Arizona. He consented to go back to Oklahoma to contest the allegations.

Alysia Adams, 31, is accused in Caddo County District Court with two charges of child neglect.

She is accused in the first count for not adequately supervising the 5-year-old. In the second count, she is accused of failing to safeguard Athena from physical abuse.

Flowers and teddy bears are placed on the porch of 4-year-old Athena Brownfield

Seek Athena Brownfield prompted by the revelation of sibling

The postal carrier informed the authorities after her sister was discovered roaming outside in Cyril at approximately 2 p.M. The quest for Athena commenced on January 10th.

The 5-year-old was placed in protective care, according to the OSBI.

According to the court affidavit, she revealed that she was “weary of being solitary.”

The OSBI stated that Athena and her sibling were connected to Alysia Adams.

Certain individuals from the community informed The Oklahoman that Jasmin Brownfield, who is Athena’s biological mother, and Alysia Adams are relatives.

As stated in the court affidavit, it is believed that Brownfield left Athena and her older sibling with Alysia and Ivon Adams approximately eighteen months to two years ago.

The 5-year-old mentioned that she referred to Alysia as “mom” and “Aly” and referred to Ivon as “dad” and “Uncle Ivon.”.

On Thursday, The Oklahoman contacted Jasmin Brownfield.

When asked if she was Alysisa Adams’ cousin, and if she would talk about the case, Brownfield paused, and declined to answer.

Penny Brownfield, a Lawton woman who asserts to be the paternal grandmother of the little girls, has accused Jasmin Brownfield of denying the biological father’s visitation rights.

Penny Brownfield informed The Oklahoman that her son had not encountered the girls for at least one year.

“She concealed the children from us all this duration.”

One resident, who spoke to The Oklahoman briefly before returning to her house, said “I never saw those children outside.”

A heart is hung from barbed wire near where the body of 4-year-old Athena Brownfield was found near Rush Springs, Okla. on Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2023.

Were officials ever notified beforehand?

While the question of why Jasmin Brownfield left the care of the Adamses’ girls remains unanswered, another key question also remains unanswered: why are there unknown remains?

Did the Oklahoma Department of Human Services ever play a role in the well-being of Athena and her elder sibling?

Casey L. White, a spokesperson for the Department of Human Services (DHS), explained to The Oklahoman that she was unable to provide any comments due to the confidential nature of child welfare cases as mandated by both state and federal laws.

Brook Arbeitman, a representative for OSBI, expressed that she was incapable of offering any remarks concerning the matter because of the ongoing inquiry.

A private practice attorney in Oklahoma states that biological parents have alternatives if they are unable to continue caring for their children, such as not involving the legal system and instead entrusting their kids to another individual.

According to James M. Wirth, an attorney based in Tulsa whose firm specializes in family law, the most favorable choice for parents seeking child placement is to file through the courts.

In certain scenarios, parents may transfer legal authority to new caregivers.

Another situation involves the children being placed under the care of the state.

According to Wirth, individuals have the option to refrain from taking any legal action in situations where one person has assumed responsibility for children from another individual.

According to Wirth, they are capable of looking after the child, but often encounter difficulties due to the lack of legal authorization.

According to Wirth, this usually occurs when the kids register in school or require medical attention.

At that moment, many seek the assistance of a lawyer, he stated.

Rev. Donnie Miller of Family Life Church speaks about 4-year-old Athena Brownfield in Cyril, Okla. on Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2023.

A community mourns their loss

In Cyril, leaders of the community informed The Oklahoman that their town has united during unimaginable sorrow.

Cyril Public Schools Superintendent Jamie Mitchell expressed, “Whether it’s positive or a distressing event like this, it is irrelevant.” “This community consistently unites with great strength.”

During the heart-wrenching search for Athena, Family Life Church on Third Street served as a central location for investigators and volunteers.

Reverend Donnie Miller stated that the tragedy will serve as a point of reference for sermons for a period of time.

As the days of the search progressed, optimism disintegrated into hopelessness.

“You begin to get the feeling that there might be a different result than what we desire,” Miller stated.

However, Miller stated that many individuals in Cyril are depending on their religious beliefs.

Athena might have refined her faith in the fire of unanswered questions about why her big sister must press her without her and why she is gone.

Miller expressed, “We are going to trust God.” “Although we don’t live in a perfect world, I am devoted to serving God as perfectly as I can.”