The body of a child found in Oklahoma earlier this month was positively identified as 4-year-old Athena Brownfield, who investigators said was beaten to death by a caregiver on Christmas.
The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation announced on social media Thursday that the state’s chief medical examiner had made the identification.
The girl was reported missing Jan. 10 when a postal carrier found her 5-year-old sister alone outside the home where she lived with Ivon Adams III and his wife, Alysia Adams. The couple had been caring for the sisters in Cyril, a city of around 800 people located about 70 miles (110 kilometers) southwest of Oklahoma City.
Ivon Adams, 36, was arrested in Arizona on murder and child neglect charges and returned to Oklahoma.
An affidavit for Ivon Adams’ arrest alleges he beat the girl to death the night of Dec. 25 and later buried her on property he and his wife once owned near the town of Rush Springs, where authorities found the child’s body. The document does not reveal why Ivon Adams was beating the girl.
Alysia Adams, 31, is charged with two counts of child neglect in the case.
The bureau said its agents recovered the girl’s body on Jan. 17 after police said the search had become a “recovery operation.” The search included a helicopter, boats, all-terrain vehicles, a specially trained ground team and a review of surveillance video from around Cyril.
The bureau said it would not have additional comment on the case due to a gag order filed in Caddo County District Court. The request for the order was filed in the case against Alysia Adams by her court-appointed attorney.