Authorities searching a rural Oklahoma property for two teenagers have discovered the bodies of seven people, including the suspected remains of the two girls and a convicted sex offender who was also being sought.
Okmulgee County Sheriff Eddy Rice said the state medical examiner will have to confirm the identities of the victims but “we believe that we have found the persons”.
He said the bodies were believed to include those of 14-year-old Ivy Webster and 16-year-old Brittany Brewer, along with Jesse McFadden, the offender who authorities said the teenagers were traveling with.
“We are no longer looking,” Mr Rice said. “We believe to have found everything that we were seeking this morning. Our hearts go out to the families and friends, schoolmates and everyone else.”
A missing endangered person advisory had been issued earlier in the day for the two teenagers before it was cancelled on Monday afternoon by the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.
The advisory for Ivy and Brittany said they were reportedly seen travelling with McFadden, who was on the state’s sex offender registry.
Oklahoma Department of Corrections prison records show McFadden was convicted of first-degree rape in 2003 and released in October 2020.
Court records show McFadden was scheduled to appear in court on Monday for the start of a jury trial on charges of soliciting sexual conduct with a minor and possession of child pornography.
Brittany’s father told KOTV in Tulsa that one of the bodies discovered was his daughter.
“Brittany was an outgoing person. She was actually selected to be Miss Henryetta… coming up in July for this Miss National Miss pageant in Tulsa. And now she ain’t gonna make it because she’s dead. She’s gone,” Nathan Brewer said.
At a Monday night vigil, Mr Brewer told hundreds of people: “It’s just a parent’s worst nightmare, and I’m living it.”
He said his daughter had aspired to be a teacher or a vet.
“I am just lost,” he added.
Henryetta Public Schools posted on Facebook and its website that it is grieving over the loss of several of its students.
“Our hearts are hurting, and we have considered what would be best for our students in the coming days,” the note said.
Officials said school would be in session, and mental health professionals and clergy would be on hand to help counsel students but they said they would understand if families want to keep their children home from school.