The biological mother of Athena Brownfield — the 4-year-old Oklahoma girl who last year was beaten to death while staying with a relative and her husband — has been arrested for allegedly abandoning her two young children in the care of Alysia Adams and Ivon Adams before disappearing for more than a year.
Alysia Adams — who authorities have described as one of Athena’s relatives —and her husband, Ivon Adams, were both arrested in January shortly after Athena was reported missing and later found dead. Ivon Adams was charged with first-degree murder and child neglect while Alysia Adams was charged with two counts of child neglect.
According to a probable cause affidavit obtained by Oklahoma City Fox affiliate KOKH-TV, Brownfield left Athena and Athena’s 5-year-old sister with the now-arrested couple in April 2021, saying that she was suffering from mental health issues and was unable to properly care for the children. In the subsequent months, Brownfield allegedly failed to contact or send money to help care for the children.
Officers with the Cyril Police Department began the search for Athena at approximately 2 p.m. on Jan. 10, 2023 after a postal carrier found Athena’s 5-year-old sister wandering outside of the 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, according to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI).
Shortly thereafter, police realized there was another young child still unaccounted for and requested the assistance of OSBI in continuing the search for Athena.
Two days after Athena went missing, Brownfield reportedly told investigators that a year and a half earlier, she had signed a hand-written note purporting to give custody of her daughters to Ivon Adams and Alysia Adams. No official court documents were filed to transfer guardianship, nor were documents included that would have allowed the Adamses to enroll the kids in school or get them medical treatment, KOKH reported.
“[Brownfield] did not want [her children’s biological father] to have the girls due to his mental state and prior abuse allegations against him,” the affidavit reportedly states. “[Brownfield] did not notify the Oklahoma Department of Human Services on the whereabouts of her two children at any time while they were in the care of Alysia and Ivon Adams.”
Investigators reportedly said that the last time Brownfield spoke to her kids was about nine months prior to Athena’s murder, emphasizing that she did not contact either child on their birthday or holidays. When Brownfield did finally call, the children “did not appear interested” in speaking with her, the affidavit reportedly states.
On Jan. 17, 2023, authorities announced that a child’s body — later identified as Athena — had been discovered after Alysia Adams admitted to watching her husband beat Athena to death on Christmas Eve 2022.
“Alysia confessed that on December 25, 2022, around midnight that night, Ivon beat [Athena] and held her up by her arms,” authorities wrote. “[Athena] was not moving and her eyes were barely open. He then laid her on the ground and punched her at least three more times in her chest. [Athena] never moved after that.”
Ivon Adams allegedly left at around 1 a.m. on Dec. 26, 2022, with Brownfield.
“When he arrived back, he told Alysia that he buried her near a fence line that was next to their old residence in Rush Springs,” authorities wrote. “He informed her he placed a large broken branch over the burial site.”
All three adults are currently being held in the Caddo County Jail, records show.
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