By Carl Lewis
and Randy Mitchell
| Southwest Chronicle
CYRIL — After days of searching the town of Cyril, sifting through tips and information provided to authorities, the caretaker of 4-year-old Athena Brownfield has been arrested, but the girl’s whereabouts remain a mystery as of press time Thursday, according to a spokesperson from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.
Area residents and authorities from across the state came together Tuesday afternoon to begin searching for Brownfield after a postal carrier reported finding the girl’s 5-year-old sister near a home at 225 W. Nebraska in Cyril. The postal carrier reported the incident to Cyril police, who quickly discovered the girl’s sister, Athena, was missing.
Authorities said in a media briefing Brownfield was last seen Jan. 6, but when asked by reporters how long the girl has been missing, OSBI Public Information Officer Brook Arbeitman said she could only confirm the investigation began Tuesday when the postal carrier found the girl’s sister at a house on Nebraska while delivering mail. Arbeitman said investigators were still establishing the timeline of events that led to Brownfield’s disappearance.
Arbeitman declined to answer questions regarding how or why the girls came to be alone at the house, or how long authorities believed they had been alone at the house, citing the sensitivity of the ongoing investigation. Records indicate the caretaker of Athena Brownfield, Alysa Adams, was booked into the Caddo County Jail at 4:12 p.m. Thursday. Adams was booked on two counts of Child Neglect.
Law enforcement personnel from around the state quickly responded to the area Tuesday, where Oklahoma Highway Patrol’s Emergency Response Team organized a crowd of more than 500 volunteers to aid in an extensive grid search of the entire town. The search included every known vacant house and local waterway. Among the agencies involved were Cyril and Fletcher police departments, Caddo County Sheriff’s Office, Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Oklahoma Department of Corrections brought in search dogs and the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs flew drones over the community.
OHP’s grid search was concluded Wednesday evening, but investigators continue to conduct interviews and review video footage from doorbell and surveillance cameras across Cyril. Arbeitman said Thursday afternoon that OSBI agents asked Multiple Community Services Authority, who provides trash pickup service for Cyril, to halt all pickups in Cyril and close the area dump facility in Fletcher to drop offs until further notice. Arbeitman said the move was an effort to help law enforcement preserve all possible leads that could help find Brownfield.
As of Thursday evening, OSBI has asked volunteers to stop showing up in Cyril to search for Brownfield. Officials said the town has been thoroughly searched and at this point in the investigation, groups of volunteers may hinder the search.
“We are continuing to look for her with an optimism that we find her,” Arbeitman said Thursday afternoon.
Anyone with information regarding Brownfield’s whereabouts is asked to contact OSBI at (800) 522-8017 or email email@example.com.
Randy Mitchell contributed to this report.