Henryetta dealing with grief as murder investigation continues


By John Dobberstein, Editor

Students were back at school Tuesday in Henryetta after the bodies of 5 of their classmates and two adults were discovered on a property in rural Okmulgee County just a day earlier.

The identification of the victims is still pending confirmation by a medical examiner. But relatives told KJRH in Tulsa the dead were 35-year-old Holly Guess, her husband Jesse McFadden and Holly’s three teen-age children: Michael James Mayo, 15; Rylee Allen, 17; and Tiffany Guess, 13.

Two teens who were visiting – Ivy Webster, 14, and Brittany Brewer, 16 – were also found dead on the property. An Amber Alert had been issued for the girls Monday morning after authorities said they had been unheard from and were last seen with McFadden, a convicted sex offender.

Oklahoma Department of Corrections prison records show he was convicted of first-degree rape in 2003 and released in October 2020.

Holly Guess’ mother, Janette Mayo, told the Associated Press that McFadden kept the family “under lock and key” and always had to know where they were.

Mayo told AP that McFadden’s controlling behavior was concerning, but the family didn’t learn about his criminal history until a few months ago.

“He lied to my daughter, and he convinced her it was all just a huge mistake,” Mayo told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Tuesday morning.

A prayer vigil was held Monday night at Henryetta Knight Center Gym to honor the victims.

In a statement posted on its website and its Facebook page, officials from Henryetta Public Schools said “we are all grieving over the tragedy of the loss of several of our students. Our hearts are hurting, and we have considered what would be best for our students in the coming days. We will have school, and this will be an extremely difficult day.”

The school district said all students will have access to grief counseling and the support of faculty and friends.

“We will have mental health professionals and faith-based clergy on hand, but we understand if you feel it is more appropriate to keep your student at home,” the district said. “Please continue to keep these families in your thoughts and prayers.”

The Okmulgee County Sheriff’s Department and Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation is continuing the investigation. No updates to the case were issued Tuesday.

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