Authorities are asking the public for help in locating a 4-year-old girl who went missing earlier this week in Cyril, Oklahoma.
In an effort to locate Athena Brownfield, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) and Oklahoma Highway Patrol (OHP) have deployed infrared helicopters, boats, four-wheelers, and personnel on the ground, according to Trooper Eric Foster of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.
On Wednesday afternoon, Foster said, “We’ve been in helicopters with infrared, as well as on the ground, doing grid searches on foot and on four-wheelers around town. Our Emergency Response Team (ERT), which is specially trained to go on foot in search of people and things, is out in coordination with civilians who have come and wanted to volunteer their time and effort.”
According to PIO Brook Arbeitman, the bureau is still actively searching for her using all of its tools. We are finding clues that could lead us to her, but we are still on the lookout for her.”
According to the report, authorities also used dogs from the Oklahoma Department of Corrections to assist them in their search.
“Right now, our top priority is to locate her, as this is an active and ongoing investigation. It will take time to figure out who is responsible. We have to find this little girl.” Arbeitman said. “She’s out alone in the elements, so is that endangered? Sure. But is she physically harmed? That’s not yet known.”
According to Arbeitman, volunteers searched “the entire town” during the ground search on Wednesday.
“An Emergency Response Team (ERT) of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol (OHP) concluded a grid search with local volunteers at 4 p.m. “Those volunteers have been released after searching the entire town, every vacant house, and local waterways,” OSBI said in a separate statement Wednesday afternoon.
Oklahoma Department of Corrections (ODOC) has search dogs in the area, and Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (OBNDD) flew drones over the community.”
Approximately 70 miles (113 km) southwest of Oklahoma City, a postal worker found Athena’s 5-year-old sister alone near their home around 2 p.m. Tuesday.
It was reported that the older girl was frightened but did not need medical attention.
Prior to her disappearance, it is unclear how long Athena had been missing.
“An exact timeline is still being worked out,” Arbeitman said.
Neither the location of the girls’ home nor the whereabouts of their parents or guardians are immediately clear at the time of Athena’s disappearance.
“That’s part of the ongoing investigation,” Arbeitman said Wednesday morning when asked about who was supposed to watch the girls.
Currently, the child is being held in protective custody.
Several details about the 4-year-old girl, who authorities initially said was 3 but later corrected, remain unknown. As a result, an Amber Alert has not been issued, Foster explained.
‘We have to follow certain guidelines and things,” he said. “The next best thing we could do was issue a Missing and Endangered notification that went out within a 15-mile radius of where she went missing. However, not all of those guidelines apply here.”
Officials continue to conduct interviews and review surveillance videos in the area. They are also requesting anyone with doorbell cameras or footage of the area near the 200 block of West Nebraska provide it to them.
“All law enforcement agencies assisting in the search for Athena appreciate the help from local volunteers, restaurants, churches, and phone tips,” according to the OSBI.