The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

The Craziest True Crime Story, Ever?

Posted on | May 30, 2024 | 1 Comment

Two women are dead and five suspects from Cimarron County, Oklahoma, are behind bars, charged in a murder conspiracy so bizarre that, when my brother first told me about the story, he said, “You’re going to need some stick pins and a lot of yarn to explain this one.” The first article about it I read in Newsweek (“Missing Women Found in Oklahoma Freezer”) was quite confusing, but I eventually unraveled the tale, which is like a madcap comedy except for the fact that two women are dead. The story involves a Republican Party county chairwoman as the conspiracy leader, an obscure preacher named “Squirrel,” and a plot twist that sounds like Wile E. Coyote trying to catch the Road Runner.

Cimarron County is in the westernmost tip of the Oklahoma panhandle, wedged between Texas, New Mexico, Colorado and Kansas. The area once “belonged to what was known as ‘No-Man’s Land’ . . . a relatively lawless area, with no organized government, and several outlaws sought refuge within its borders.” The county’s population is only 2,296, so “sparsely settled” would seem a fair description, and roughly half the people there live in the county seat, Boise City, population 1,166.

Cimarron County is one of the strongest Republican counties in America, where Donald Trump got 92% of the vote in 2020. And last year, the county GOP elected Tifany Adams as its chairwoman.

Tifany Adams — yes, that’s Tifany, with one “n” — is only 54 years old and, while it would be irresponsible of me as a professional journalist to engage in speculation, the reader is under no such restriction, so if your guess is that Ms. Adams has a history of substance abuse, I won’t argue with you. The phrase “rode hard and put up wet” comes to mind.

After Tifany-with-one-n was arrested on murder charges in neighboring Texas County in April, the chairman of the Oklahoma state Republican Party emphasized “that Ms. Adams was previously elected by a handful of people to the role of Chair in her county.” Yes, in a county where there is no Democratic opposition to speak of, with barely more than 2,000 people in the whole county, the local GOP meeting is a small enough gathering that a “handful of people” can elect a chairwoman who might not be entirely sane and who, indeed, might be a homicidal maniac.

Allegedly, I hasten to add. All things considered, the chairwoman of the Cimarron County GOP probably has more important things on her mind than filing a libel suit against a blogger who fails to include the word “allegedly” before calling her a homicidal maniac, but why take chances? However, the phrase “rode hard and put up wet” is merely an expression of opinion, so I’m in the clear on that one. Meanwhile . . .

Tifany-with-one-n Adams has a son whose name is Wrangler Rickman — yes, his name is Wrangler, like the blue jeans — and Wrangler sired two children with a woman named Veronica Butler. Alas, the love between Wrangler and Veronica did not endure, and when they split, there ensued what the media have called “a bitter custody battle.” Wrangler was awarded full custody, and Veronica was allowed only supervised visitation with the two children, ages 6 and 8. Anyone familiar with such cases would suspect something must be badly amiss with Veronica Butler, as it is unusual for a father to be awarded full custody, especially given the fact that Wrangler Rickman seems to have his own personal problems (which we will get to momentarily). Meanwhile . . .

Cole Twombly (left); Cora Twombly (right)

Tifany-with-one-n Adams was friends with Cole Twombly, 50, and Cora Twombly, 44. Along with Adams and her boyfriend, Tad Cullom, 43, the Twomblys were allegedly “part of an anti-government religious group known as God’s Misfits.’ Regular meetings are said to have occurred at the Twombly’s home.” Their membership in this group is disputed, as is the claim of an “anti-government” motive, by none other than the leader of God’s Misfits, a biker from South Carolina known as Squirrel.

The leader of a religious group in South Carolina called “God’s Misfits,” who goes by the name “Squirrel,” says the suspects involved in the killing of two Kansas moms do not share the same God as him.
“Not my God. … The God that I serve condemns such hate,” Squirrel said during an exclusive interview Friday with NewsNation’s Ashleigh Banfield.
Squirrel defended his religious organization, adding that he has no relationship with the four suspects, who also are part of a group with the name “God’s Misfits,” and has never been to Oklahoma.
“I have no relation with them at all,” Squirrel said . . .
Squirrel said the organization is “not anti-government at all.”
“The Scripture says that God puts in office who he wants in office. Even it doesn’t make me happy, I go with it. God’s word is true. We pray for our president, we pray for our country. I’m not anti-government at all. I’m not real happy about things that are going on right now, but that’s all around the world,” Squirrel said.

The Gospel According to Squirrel

The description of “God’s Misfits” as a group is perhaps misleading. Squirrel has a website, a Facebook page and a YouTube channel that comprise what he calls his “online ministry.” His most recent YouTube video, uploaded in February, was based on II Thessalonians 2:3-7 and, like much of his other content, was focused on the interpretation of end-times prophecy. You may not care for eschatology lectures from an untutored biker, but in terms of reading “the signs of the times,” let he who has ears hear! “Let’s talk about what’s going on in the world now,” Squirrel said, talking about the “bloodthirsty terrorists” who attacked Israel. Could this be interpreted as an event of apocalyptic significance?

Preach it, Brother Squirrel!

Far be it from me to say Squirrel is wrong about our temporal proximity to the Time of Tribulation and the Day of Judgment. I try not to dwell on such topics myself, believing that the Lord will return at the time of His own choosing, and that we therefore ought to be ready for the Second Coming at any time. Yet from my very cursory examination of Squirrel’s teaching, he’s not trying to lead people into one of those kooky doomsday cults. He’s merely saying, “Repent!” Which is just basic Christianity, and Squirrel is also correct when he says, “The Scripture says that God puts in office who he wants in office.” This is an orthodox reading of Romans 13, which begins, “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.” When we consider that God is sovereign, that the Divine Will is always being worked out in its mysterious way, then we understand how compliance with the “the powers that be” is a Christian duty. We ought to live lawfully, even if the people who win elections are not those we voted for, and even if their policies are obnoxious or sinful. “Owe no man any thing” (Romans 13:8) could be seen, in this context, as urging Christians to live in such a way that they are not dependent upon government favoritism. Here, I think especially of the Christian homeschooling movement as an example. Are the local public schools run by evil people? Is their curriculum wrongheaded and offensive? My ability to influence the government education system is negligible, but they can’t impose this wickedness on my children. “Maximum feasible non-cooperation,” I call this approach. The rest of y’all can keep following the Highway to Hell, but insofar as it is possible, I have traveled a different path and, when given the chance, urged others to do the same. But I digress . . .

However theologically sound Squirrel’s preaching may be, his putative disciples in the Oklahoma panhandle had their own agenda, particularly involving the custody dispute over Tifany-with-one-n’s grandchildren:

Adams, the mother of Butler’s former romantic partner, believed Butler’s brother was abusing the couple’s 8- and 6-year-old children, according to court documents in a prolonged custody dispute.
Butler was granted court-ordered visitation every Saturday, and because her usual supervisor was unavailable on the day of her disappearance [March 30], another supervisor, [Jilian] Kelley, went with Butler to pick up her kids from Adams.
When Butler’s family didn’t hear from her later, they called police.
On Monday [April 15], the two women were confirmed dead.

Murder victims: Veronica Butler (left); Jillian Kelley (right)

Kelley, age 39, was from Hugoton, Kansas (population 3,686), just north of the Oklahoma border, and roughly an hour’s drive northeast of Cimarron County. She was the wife of the pastor of the First Christian Church, and the mother of four children. It is genuinely shocking that such a woman, widely beloved in her community, should have been murdered because Tifany-with-one-n Adams was angry at her son Wrangler’s “former romantic partner” (which is a fancy journalistic euphemism for ex-girlfriend or baby mama). Jilian Kelley was trying to do a good deed, acting as court-approved visitation supervisor for Veronica Bulter, and the fact that she was killed in a plot (allegedly) devised by a county Republican Party chairwoman? Outrageous!

Brothers and sisters, do you not see how this dreadful event comports with what Preacher Squirrel is trying to tell us? Over the years, I’ve devoted many tens of thousands of words to coverage of crime in America’s urban hellholes — wicked places like Baltimore and Philadelphia, where no one is safe from the incessant violence — but verily we must be in the Last Days when a pastor’s wife in small town Kansas must fear the violence of a deranged county GOP chairwoman from the “No Man’s Land” of panhandle Oklahoma.

Wile E. Coyote’s ‘Unhinged’ Plot

While it is mere speculation to suggest that the “rode hard and put up wet” appearance of Tifany-with-one-n Adams reflects a history of long-term substance abuse, there is other circumstantial evidence. Many people don’t realize that heavy use of alcohol (or pain-killers, methamphetamine, etc.) tends to inflict damage to the pre-frontal cortex of the brain, impairing the higher cognitive function, including the exercise of prudence and moral judgment. Even after the addict kicks the habit or the drunk gets sober, their thought process may never fully recover, and their behavior may continue to be . . . Well, problematic is an overused word, but perhaps apt in the case of Tifany-with-one-n:

Tifany Adams is “unhinged,” acccording to Leanne Webb, who met Adams last year at a political event and became friendly with her. “She has a lot of weird beliefs, and thinks that the rest of the world is corrupt. It was all conspiracy theories and stuff that didn’t make any sense.”
In February, Adams, 54, reposted an article which claimed modern society was living in a simulation. “She posted a few times a day sometimes, but it was all stuff like that,” says Webb.
Adams and her boyfriend, Tad Cullum, would often meet with their friends, Cole and Cora Twombly, to discuss their roles in a fringe group called God’s Misfits.
The four of them often posted anti-government rants on their respective Facebook pages. “It was just bizarre, bizarre stuff,” said Webb, who later unfriended them. “And they were going to raise [her grandkids] to believe the same things.”

“Unhinged . . . weird beliefs . . . bizarre stuff.” You know, we all laughed at that scene in Animal House where the fraternity pledge Pinto, about to smoke marijuana for the first time, asks, “I won’t go schizo, will I?” To which Professor Jennings replies, “It’s a distinct possibility.”

Pinto gets high at Faber College in 1962

Turns out, however, that Pinto’s fears weren’t just a joke. Recent research shows a link between marijuana and mental health problems, including the risk of schizophrenia. We don’t know whether Tifany-with-one-n Adams was ever a marijuana user, nor do we have any clear evidence of other substance abuse beyond her unusually bedraggled appearance, but when she’s ranting on Facebook about “living in a simulation” and other bizarre beliefs, we certainly might suspect drug-induced brain damage as a contributing factor in her “unhinged” mental condition.

Did I mention that the conspiracy to murder Veronica Butler and Jilian Kelley reportedly seemed to borrow from the plot of a “Road Runner” cartoon? You’ve got to smoke a lot of weed to do it this way:

Tifany Adams, 54, her boyfriend, Tad Bert Cullum, 43, along with Cora Twombly, 44, and her husband, Cole Earl Twombly, 50, are charged with first-degree murder, kidnapping and one count of conspiracy to commit murder. A fifth person, 31-year-old Paul Grice, is facing the same charges. . . .
The warrants . . . say Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) agents searched a property in rural Texas County, Oklahoma, on April 13. Agents had tracked burner phones used by the suspects from the site of the alleged murders to a farm Cullum rented to raise cattle, according to the warrant. There, agents found a possible burial site. Investigators found the bodies of the two moms the next day after digging up the chest freezer. Detectives also reportedly recovered items belonging to the suspects. . . .
Butler and Kelley were traveling from their homes in southern Kansas to meet Adams to pick up the two kids on March 30. . . . The two set out around 9 a.m. to pick up the kids but the pair never made it to their destination.
Butler’s family members searched for her vehicle and found it abandoned shortly after noon March 30 along Highway 95 and Road L in Texas County near the border with Kansas. According to a probable cause affidavit, cops found “evidence of severe injury,” including blood surrounding the vehicle. . . .
Investigators with the OSBI quickly zeroed in on Adams after learning of the custody dispute, according to the affidavit. Adams’ son, the kids’ father, had full custody of the kids but she often took care of them.
“I think from the get-go once we arrived on scene and gained a little bit of information, we felt that this wasn’t a random deal,” Texas County Sheriff Matt Boley previously said. “We felt that it was more targeted and we started to look in those areas that we were pointed to.” . . .

(“We felt that this wasn’t a random deal.” The obvious question — who had a motive to murder these people? — had an equally obvious answer.)

Agents also talked with Butler’s attorney who said a judge was about to issue extended visitation to Butler. This apparently didn’t set well with Adams. Cops found recordings of Adams and Cullum allegedly making death threats toward Butler. Adams allegedly told family members that the custody battle wouldn’t last much longer because she “had it under control” and knew “the path the judge walked to work.” She also is accused of saying “we will take out Veronica at drop off.”
Detectives on April 3 interviewed a teenage family member of the Twomblys. The girl allegedly said Cora Twombly told her that she, her husband, Adams, Cullum and Grice were involved in the murders. She said Adams had provided her co-conspirators with the burner phones to communicate without using their own phones, the affidavit said. Adams also allegedly bought five stun guns at a local store. . . . .

(Burner phones, stun guns — the criminal geniuses thought of everything, except telling their plot to a teenage blabbermouth.)

The Twomblys allegedly told the girl on the day of the murders that they were going on a “mission,” the affidavit said. The pair returned home around noon on March 30 and told the girl “things did not go as planned, but that they would not have to worry” about Butler again, investigators wrote.
Cora Twombly allegedly told the teenager how the plan was for her and her husband to block the road and throw an anvil through Butler’s windshield to divert them off the road to where Adams, Cullum and Grice were waiting. They allegedly wanted to make it “look like an accident” because anvils fall onto the highway all the time. . . .

(Wile E. Coyote could not be reached for comment.)

The teenager asked Cora Twombly why Kelley had to die and she replied that Kelley “wasn’t innocent” because she “had supported Butler,” the affidavit said. According to the affidavit, the suspects had tried to kill Butler outside her home in February but she refused to come out.

Murder suspects Tad Cullum (left) and Paul Grice (right)

As I’ve often said, Crazy People Are Dangerous, but the combination of stupid and evil can also be risky. As criminal conspiracies go, this has to be one of the dumbest ever concocted. At any point in the planning of this “mission,” did none of these people realize that they were certain to get caught? Were the flaws in their plan not apparent to them?

You may wonder why the father of the children was not involved in this murder plot. It’s because Wrangler Rickman “was in a rehab facility in [Oklahoma City] at the time of Butler and Kelley’s disappearance.”

Now think about the two children. Mommy’s dead because Grandma (and her “God’s Misfits” buddies) killed her, and oh, Daddy’s in rehab. Those kids have got a bright future ahead of them, I’m sure.

Balance — my journalistic career has been driven by a desire for balance, an urge to offset the prevailing bias of the mainstream media. Routinely, I cover bizarre crimes committed in Democrat-dominated cities, perpetrated by the Usual Suspects, because you’re not going to hear about those crimes in the national news. More than a thousand people have been shot so far this year in Chicago, including 180 fatal shootings. How many of those crimes has CNN covered? Zero. And we know why.

Democrats endlessly rant about “gun violence,” trying to create the impression that guns, per se, are causing violence. And the national media ignore most urban crime because they know that such crimes don’t help Democrats portray “gun violence” as a problem that can be blamed on Republicans. Despite the media distortions, most Americans understand Trump voters aren’t doing drive-by shootings in Chicago.

So while urban criminals run amok in Democrat strongholds, and the media generally ignore this non-stop carnage, I’ve risked the accusation of racism — “RAAAAACISM!” — by covering such crimes, because of my desire for balance. But here were are, with a county Republican Party chairwoman in rural Oklahoma (allegedly) conspiring with “God’s Misfits” to murder two women, and certainly I can’t ignore that.

What can be done to prevent a crime like this? What political advantage could anyone gain by trying to make an issue of this? Gun control wouldn’t have stopped them. Maybe we need anvil control laws . . .

Oklahoma has the death penalty. Let’s hope they use it in this case.


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One Response to “The Craziest True Crime Story, Ever?”

  1. News of the Week (June 2nd, 2024) | The Political Hat
    June 2nd, 2024 @ 5:15 pm

    […] The Craziest True Crime Story, Ever? Two women are dead and five suspects from Cimarron County, Oklahoma, are behind bars, charged in a murder conspiracy so bizarre that, when my brother first told me about the story, he said, “You’re going to need some stick pins and a lot of yarn to explain this one.” The first article about it I read in Newsweek (“Missing Women Found in Oklahoma Freezer”) was quite confusing, but I eventually unraveled the tale, which is like a madcap comedy except for the fact that two women are dead. The story involves a Republican Party county chairwoman as the conspiracy leader, an obscure preacher named “Squirrel,” and a plot twist that sounds like Wile E. Coyote trying to catch the Road Runner. […]