PICHER – Investigators gathered Tuesday morning in Picher to excavate an old root cellar in the continuing search for two teenage girls missing from Welch since 1999, according to Craig County District Attorney Matt Ballard’s office and members of the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.
Unfortunately, the search for the bodies of Lauria Bible and Ashley Freeman did not turn up any new evidence, according to Michelle Lowry, Community Outreach and Victim Services Coordinator with the Craig County DA’s office.
Ronnie Busick, the source for Tuesday’s location information, recently pled guilty to kidnapping and murder charges in the missing girls’ case, in addition to the murder of Freeman’s parents and the arson of their home in an attempt to cover up the murders and kidnapping.
Two other males involved in the crimes, Phil Welch and David Pennington, have since passed away.
Tuesday’s search was headed up by Angela Berg from the Oklahoma Medical Examiner’s office, with lead detectives OSBI Special Agent Tammy Ferrari and Gary Stansill, an investigator with Ballard’s office.
Members of the Quapaw Tribe, Craig County Sheriff Heath Winfrey’s office, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), and others from multiple agencies assisted them.