'Now Resting In The Arms of Jesus': Athena Brownfield Honored With Memorial Bench

A group of women worked together to bring a memorial bench to Cyril that honors Athena Brownfield, the 4-year-old whose remains were found a week after she was reported missing.

Friday, June 16th 2023, 5:28 pm

By: Chris Yu

A group of women worked together to bring a memorial bench to Cyril that honors Athena Brownfield, the 4-year-old whose remains were found a week after she was reported missing.

The bench in memory of Athena was installed this week at Cyril Town Plaza on 2nd Street, across from the Cyril Police Department.

Athena was reported missing on Jan. 10 after a postal worker found her 5-year-old sister wandering outside alone. On Jan. 17, investigators found her remains in Grady County.

Athena's caretakers, Ivon Adams and his wife, Alysia, were arrested. Ivon was charged with first-degree murder and child neglect while Alysia was charged with two counts of child neglect. In addition, Brownfield's biological mother, Jasmin, was arrested on two counts of child neglect by abandonment.

To honor Athena - Taylor Sharpmack, of Illinois, Daphne Chapman, of Norman, and Denise Jones, of Mustang - worked together to make a memorial bench possible. 

“So I sat, just like everybody else, by the TV - waiting for updates," Jones said when she heard that Athena was missing. “And I was just in shock at how things were unfolding.”

After the trio brainstormed designs, Chapman and Jones made the pitch to city leaders, who approved the project.

Sharpmack said they reached out to several companies before talking with Audra Nelson of Nelson Monument Company in Guthrie, who decided to construct and install the bench for free.

The bench features a photo of Athena surrounded by butterflies and the following message:

"There's no footprint too small to leave an imprint on this world. Sweet little Athena, taken from us too soon. Your smile was contagious. Your laugh could fill a room. When God was searching for the most beautiful angel, he found you. Love conquers all, our shy little butterfly, now resting in the arms of Jesus, dancing in the sky."

“Anybody that’s been hit by the story, you know, could visit and we just wanted it to be as perfect as possible," Sharpmack said, who traveled from Illinois to Cyril to see the bench in person. “I try to talk to her just every day and I tell her that I’m thankful that she no longer has to suffer.”

The women also spruced up the plaza where the bench was installed.

“It’s beautiful. We cleaned out the area, Daphne and I," Jones said. "We planted new items. Then our friend came in from another state. She finished planting.”

Chapman said they will continue to work to improve the area around the bench. The plan is to add an angel sculpture onto a pedestal with a plaque that says, "‘Stop Child Abuse Before It Is Too Late.”

“It really helps to keep her name alive and that she’s not forgotten, and we plan to hopefully do something on a yearly basis around her birthday," said Chapman. Athena was born on Sept. 6, 2018.

Chapman hopes that Athena's older sister will get to visit the bench.

"I was very emotional," Chapman said of the memorial. “I started crying uncontrollably. But it was just amazing.”

To report child abuse in Oklahoma, call the hotline at 1-800-522-3511. If the child is in immediate danger, call 911. Click here for more information.


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