First Search of 2020 For Missing Welch Girls

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FILE – In this April 25, 2018, file photo, Ronnie Dean Busick arrives at the Craig County Jail in Vinita, Okla. A jury on Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019, found the Kansas man competent to stand trial on murder charges in the 1999 deaths of a northeast Oklahoma couple and the presumed deaths of their teenage daughter and her friend. (Sheila Stogsdill/Tulsa World via AP, File)

(AP)–Authorities from state and federal agencies plan to meet and conduct new searches for two 16-year-old northeast Oklahoma girls who disappeared in late 1999 and have not been seen since.

The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement is joining the meetings and searches on Tuesday and Wednesday for Ashley Freeman and Lauria Bible, who are presumed dead. Authorities believe Freeman’s parents were killed, the girls were kidnapped and the Freeman’s mobile home set on fire on Dec. 30, 1999.

Ronnie Dean Busick was arrested and charged in 2018 with murder, kidnapping and arson in the case. He has denied involvement.

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