Foul play suspected in disappearance of preacher’s wife and her friend

Posted at 9:42 AM, April 2, 2024 and last updated 8:40 AM, April 4, 2024

(Court TV) — “Foul play” is suspected in the case of a missing preacher’s wife and her friend, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation said in a statement Wednesday night.

Previously, authorities said they are looking for two women whose empty car was found on the side of a road in rural Oklahoma in what they called a “suspicious disappearance.”

Veronica Butler, 27, and Jillian Kelley, 39, were traveling together to “pick up children” but never made it to their location, according to a missing persons advisory issued by the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. The advisory does not say whose children they were picking up, but Kansas station KWCH reported Kelley was traveling with Butler to pick up Butler’s children.

combo image of two missing women

(L) Veronica Butler, (R) Jillian Kelley (Texas County Sheriff’s Department)

A Facebook post from Willow Christian Church in Indianola, Nebraska, described Kelley as the wife of its new minister and sister-in-law of a church member. The church said it held a gathering Sunday night to pray for the missing women. Attendees were invited to create notecards for the families.

“Please pray that Jillian and her friend Veronica are safe and that they are found quickly. God please bring these women home to their families that are so worried about them,” the post said.

Their vehicle was found abandoned near Highway 95 and Road L in rural Texas County, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation said in a statement. It’s not clear when the vehicle was found, but the Texas County Sheriff’s Department on Saturday asked the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation for help investigating.

“Based on the information obtained from the victim’s vehicle, our investigators believe there was evidence to indicate foul play,” said OSBI Wednesday night.

Butler was last seen wearing a blue shirt, denim shorts and HEYDUDE slip-on shoes. She has tattoos including a Chinese symbol on her left forearm and a sunflower on her left shoulder. Kelley was last seen in a white-washed blue jeans, a long-sleeves shirt and tan or beige shoes. She has a butterfly tattoo on her left forearm.

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