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Pastor's Wife, Her Friend Go Missing in 'Suspicious Disappearance,' Oklahoma Police Say

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Two women from Oklahoma have gone missing after the vehicle they were traveling in was found abandoned near a highway.

The Texas County Sheriff’s Office requested help from the public on March 30, when they declared the disappearance of 27-year-old Veronica Butler and 39-year-old Jilian Kelley, wife of Heath Kelley, an incoming minister at Willow Christian Church in Indianola, Nebraska.

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In a Facebook post, the church wrote, “We believe in the power of prayer and we believe God will bring them home safely.”

Officials with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation have deemed the women’s disappearance “suspicious,” according to a Facebook post from the agency.

The pair left Hugoton, Kansas, on Saturday but never arrived at their planned destination, according to a report from The Kansas City Star. The sheriff’s office said they were “traveling together to pick up children.”

According to descriptions of the two women, Kelley has brown hair and blue eyes and was last seen wearing light blue jeans and a long-sleeved shirt, while Butler, who is five feet and four inches tall, has red hair and green eyes and was seen wearing denim shorts and a short-sleeved blue shirt.

Listen to them on the latest episode of “Quick Start”:

Members of Willow Christian Church gathered on Easter Sunday to hold a prayer service for Kelley and Butler.

“Please, please be in prayer for these women,” the church wrote in a Facebook post. “Jilian is the wife of our new minister, Heath Kelley, and the sister-in-law of church member Hillary Kennedy. Please pray that Jilian 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.”

While Heath Kelley was hired by Willow Christian Church last November, he has not yet started working at the church. He is still serving at Hugoton First Christian Church, which opened its doors Sunday for “continuous prayers” for the missing women.

Please continue to pray Butler, Kelley, their families, and law enforcement authorities as they continue to search for the missing pair.

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About The Author

Tré Goins-Phillips Headshot

Tré Goins-Phillips serves as a host and content creator for CBN News. He hosts the weekly “Faith vs. Culture” show and co-hosts “Quick Start,” a news podcast released every weekday morning. Born and raised in Virginia, Tré now lives along the Blue Ridge Mountains, where he has built his career, often traveling to meet and interview fascinating cultural influencers and entertainers. After working with brands like TheBlaze and Independent Journal Review, Tré began his career at CBN News in 2018 and has a particular passion for bridging the chasm between the secular world and the church