Day 2 of the search ends for two missing Welch girls; authorities not done with sites


WELCH, Okla. – Two days of intensive searching for two missing Welch teens are done, but authorities are far from done with the sites.

At this point, there’s not much conclusive, but there is one site underwater they’re not done with. Divers captured the image of a submerged structure that they want to examine more closely.

They found it during a search of a collapse pond just north of the old Picher High School. The Tulsa Police Dive Team scoured the pond first with side scan radar and then a remote operated vehicle, also called an ROV, on loan from Cherokee Nation Marshals. That has more sophisticated imaging which was key with murky conditions and deep waters. Crews are still waiting to search another Picher pond which has been mostly drained of water.

“We’re going to dry it a little bit. And maybe run, they’ve got a cadaver dog. We might go back out to that pond when it’s dried up a little bit and more conducive for a better search.”

Gary Stansill, D.A. Investigator

This was the latest in a series of searches, looking for the remains of missing Welch teens Ashley Freeman and Lauria Bible. They disappeared in December 1999 as Freeman’s parents were found in the remains of their burnt home in Welch.

Ronnie Dean Busick, 67, is awaiting trial in the case.

Authorities identified two other suspects as well, but they have since passed away.

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