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2 bodies found in a rural Oklahoma county as authorities searched for missing Kansas women


GUYMON, Okla. (AP) — Two bodies have been recovered in a rural Oklahoma county, a day after four people were charged there with murder and kidnapping in connection with the March disappearance of two Kansas women, authorities said.

Both bodies found in Texas County will be taken to the Medical Examiner’s Office to determine identification, as well as cause and manner of death, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation said in a statement Sunday night.

Veronica Butler, 27; and Jilian Kelley, 39, of Hugoton, Kansas, were driving through the Oklahoma panhandle to pick up Butler’s children for a March 30 birthday party in Kansas but never showed up. Their vehicle was later found abandoned on a rural highway in Texas County, Oklahoma, about 11 miles (18 km) south of Elkhart, Kansas, on the Oklahoma-Kansas state line. The area is about 260 miles (418 km) northwest of Oklahoma City.

The Texas County Sheriff's Office requested help from the state bureau of investigation, which said its officers immediately suspected foul play, based on undisclosed evidence found in the vehicle.

On Saturday, Oklahoma authorities said they arrested and charged four people with two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of kidnapping and one count of conspiracy to commit murder in the first degree.