OSAGE COUNTY: 3 arrested on murder, robbery complaints

Robert Smith rsmith@pawhuskajournalcapital.com
Osage County Sheriff's Office deputies announced Friday they arrested Maurice Kent, Daniel Keene and Toby Bighorse on suspicion of second-degree murder and first-degree robbery after the body of a missing Fairfax man was found.

The Osage County Sheriff’s Office has arrested three people on suspicion of second-degree murder and first-degree robbery, Sheriff Eddie Virden and Investigator Bill Gee said Friday.

The suspects have been identified as Maurice Prentiss Kent, 37, of Fairfax; Toby Larue Bighorse, 29, of Pawhuska; and Daniel Joseph Keene, 24, of Pawhuska.

The three are suspected of involvement with the death of John D. Adkins, 41, who had been evicted from a dwelling in Fairfax and was homeless.

Virden said the Pawhuska Police Department initially received a report Oct. 1 about the incident that apparently resulted in Adkins’ death. Kent, Bighorse and Keene made that report, telling police Adkins had been injured in a conflict and left behind.

Virden said Pawhuska police looked into the report, but had no success finding Adkins and turned to the Sheriff’s Office for assistance on Oct. 17. Adkins had not been seen or heard from by friends and family members in the intervening period.

The Sheriff’s Office launched an intensive search, with officers staying in the field for extended hours, Virden said. The S.O. investigators re-interviewed people and took individuals to the site of the incident that reportedly led to Adkins’ death.

The officers found Adkins’ partially decomposed remains on the other side of a barbed-wire fence from a county road just north of Pawhuska, Virden said. He explained there was Johnson grass 4-5 feet high in between the road and the body.

Authorities had been told that a knife was the weapon with which Adkins had been injured, Virden and Gee said. An account given to law enforcement was that Adkins and the three suspects were riding in a vehicle when Adkins and one of the others got into an argument, Virden said.

The Sheriff’s Office said that, as the investigation progressed, officers learned Adkins had been riding as a passenger in a vehicle driven by Kent.

“It was learned that the vehicle stopped in a remote area approximately 1.1 miles north of County Road 4070 on County Road 4201 and Adkins was subsequently killed as a result of an attempted robbery,” the Sheriff’s Office said in a statement on the incident.