New search announced for Oklahoma girls bodies missing since 1999

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PICHER, Okla. — A new search for the bodies of two northeast Oklahoma girls missing since 1999 will start Friday, according to authorities.

Investigators will search a cellar on vacant land in the former town of Picher where a suspect in the disappearance of Ashley Freeman and Lauria Bible lived at the time, according to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation and the Craig County District Attorney’s Office.

The location is based on interviews by investigators of Ronnie Busick, a Wichita, Kansas, man who pleaded guilty in August to being an accessory to murder in the case.

“Busick just kept saying over and over ‘the root cellar,’” to OSBI and district attorney investigators, according to Michelle Lowry, spokesperson for the district attorney’s office.

The search is for the remains of Ashley Freeman and Lauria Bible, who were 16 when they disappeared from Freeman's home near Welch, Oklahoma on Dec. 30, 1999.
Authorities have announced a new search for the bodies of two northeast Oklahoma girls missing since 1999. (FOX4 Photo/Brian Dulle)

Freeman and Bible, both 16, disappeared from Freeman’s home near Welch on Dec. 30, 1999, and Freeman’s parents were found dead in the burned rubble of the home.

Investigators believe Busick and two other men shot Ashley’s parents and kidnapped the girls, holding them captive for days, raping them repeatedly then killing them.

The other two men are now dead.

The search is on land where a former home of one of the men once stood, and authorities say his stepdaughter told investigators Pennington forbid anyone from going near the cellar.

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