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Oklahoma investigators searching for missing women are ‘hopeful they are alive’ despite suspected 'foul play'

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation says it is “hopeful," despite suspected “foul play," that Veronica Butler and Jilian Kelley are still alive.

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation tells Fox News Digital it is "hopeful that we can still find" Veronica Butler and Jilian Kelley alive nearly a week after their mysterious disappearance in which "foul play" is suspected. 

The two Kansas woman vanished last Saturday in a rural area of Oklahoma while they were heading to pick up children, according to law enforcement. The OSBI announced Thursday that "Based on the information obtained from the victim’s [abandoned] vehicle, our investigators believe there was evidence to indicate foul play." 

"We are hopeful that they are alive. But because we haven’t found them, we are just not sure," OSBI public information manager Hunter McKee told Fox News Digital on Friday morning. "But we are hopeful that we can still find them alive." 

"Basically, we are just looking for anybody that had seen these two women in the hours leading up to them going missing," he added. "Did anyone talk to them? Did anyone see them? We are just trying to gather as many tips as we possibly can." 


Meanwhile, Heath Kelley, the pastor husband of Jilian, shared a church’s prayer on Facebook calling for the women’s safe return. 

"Heavenly Father, we come to you today in desperation, in weakness, knowing that you are almighty, all powerful and able to do what we are unable," reads the message posted by the McCook Christian Church in Nebraska. "When we do not know what to say, you intervene for us.  We bring Jilian and Veronica to you today. We ask in the mighty name of Jesus, that you would allow them to be seen by someone and brought home to their families. We ask that you wrap them in your embrace of comfort and peace." 

"Give direction to those that are searching," the prayer adds. "Shine a light on the clues and move their feet swiftly towards these women with purpose and determination. Provide protection to all involved and bring them all home safely to their families." 


A missing persons advisory from the Texas County Sheriff’s Office says Butler has "several tattoos, a Chinese symbol on her left forearm, a sunflower on her left shoulder" and that "Jilian has a butterfly tattoo on her left forearm."   

The alert describes Butler as being five-feet four-inches tall with red hair and green eyes, last seen wearing a blue short-sleeve shirt and denim shorts.    

Kelley has brown hair and blue eyes and was last seen wearing a long-sleeve shirt, blue jeans and tan or beige shoes, the alert adds.   

The vehicle they were traveling in was "found abandoned near Highway 95 and Road L, south of Elkhart, Kansas, in rural Texas County," according to the OSBI. 

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