During a search for two teenage girls reported missing with an adult male sex offender, Oklahoma police turned up a grim scene at a rural property near the town of Henryetta: seven dead bodies.
Eventually, police identified three of the bodies as belonging to the two girls they were looking for, Ivy Webster, 14, and Brittany Brewer, 16, along with Jesse McFadden, the convicted rapist with whom authorities said the teens had been travelling.
Now, a family member of the other four victims has identified them as her 35-year-old daughter and three grandchildren, and revealed that the missing teens were friends of the family who had been staying over for a sleepover.
She also revealed that her daughter and McFadden were married, though the family didn’t know about his criminal history until a couple of months ago.
“My daughter loved her children. And, yes, she married the man who killed them. But she was fooled by his charm,” Janette Mayo said in a Tuesday Facebook post. “I hurt just like the other families, but he took my world from me.”
Police have not said if McFadden is suspected of killing the six other victims.
Mayo, 59, said the sheriff’s office notified her late Monday that the other four victims were her daughter, Holly Guess, and her grandchildren, Rylee Elizabeth Allen, 17; Michael James Mayo, 15; and Tiffany Dore Guess, 13. They were all found shot to death on the property, police told her.
Mayo said Tiffany was close friends with Webster and Brewer, who were spending the weekend with the family.
In a series of Facebook posts early Monday morning, Webster’s mother Ashleigh wrote that her daughter was supposed to return home from the sleepover at 5 p.m. on Sunday, but the last time she spoke to her was 11 a.m. that day.
Webster’s mother then updated her status with a missing endangered person advisory that had been sent out for Webster and Brewer, saying that her daughter had been last seen with McFadden, who “is the stepfather of Tiffany.”
“No one has heard from Ivy, Brittany, Tiffany, Michael, Rylie (sic) or the parents Holly and Jesse,” she wrote.
Okmulgee County Sheriff Eddy Rice said police had discovered seven bodies during the search for the missing teens on Monday — and that Webster, Brewer and McFadden’s bodies were believed to be among them. The state medical examiner has yet to officially confirm the victims’ identities.
“We are no longer looking,” Rice said, in reference to the missing people. “Our hearts go out to the families and friends, schoolmates and everyone else.”
The missing endangered person advisory that had been issued earlier in the day for the two teens was cancelled Monday afternoon by the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.
In a Facebook post made Tuesday, Mayo wrote that she was seeing news about the discovery of seven dead bodies in Oklahoma that were only mentioning Webster and Brewer, and not her family members.
“My heart does go out to Ivy’s and Brittany’s families, but they were not his only victims,” she wrote.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Mayo said McFadden had kept the family in the dark about his criminal past, but some of his behaviour with her daughter made her nervous.
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“He lied to my daughter, and he convinced her it was all just a huge mistake,” Mayo said in a telephone interview Tuesday morning. “He was very demure. He was very standoffish, generally very quiet, but he kept my daughter and the kids basically under lock and key. He had to know where they were at all times, which sent red flags up.”
McFadden was convicted of first-degree rape in 2003 and released in October 2020, according to Oklahoma Department of Corrections prison records.
Recent court records show McFadden was scheduled to appear in court Monday — the day the bodies were found — for the start of a jury trial on charges of soliciting sexual conduct with a minor and possession of child pornography.
Brewer’s father told KOTV in Tulsa that his daughter “was an outgoing person,” with dreams and aspirations that will never be realized.
“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, Brewer’s father told hundreds of people: “It’s just a parent’s worst nightmare, and I’m living it.”
He said his daughter had wanted to be a teacher or a veterinarian when she grew up.
“I am just lost,” he said.
Mayo described her daughter, Holly Guess, as a doting mother who cared deeply for her children.
“She was a fantastic mother. She loved her children beyond belief. She was overprotective,” Mayo said. “She was supportive if they wanted to do something. She’d go out 100 per cent.”
Granddaughter Rylee Allen “had a talent with a paintbrush,” she said. “Rylee wanted to be an artist and wanted to be a doctor so she could help people.”
Michael Mayo ran track and cross-country, and when he wanted to play football, his mother went out and bought the family T-shirts and sweatshirts to support the team, Mayo said.
Tiffany Guess also ran cross-country, performed in the choir and had just tried out for the cheerleading squad.
“She was the sweetest, most loving girl you’d ever met,” Mayo said. “We called her ‘Tiffasaurus’ because when she’d get mad at you, she’d growl.”
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.
— with files from The Associated Press