Judge gives time to evaluate mental competency of Ronnie Dean Busick

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The court case focusing on two missing Welch girls is at a standstill pending a mental evaluation of the accused.

Defense attorneys are concerned about mental competency issues. Now the judge is giving them time to evaluate Ronnie Dean Busick.

“But you know let’s get him tested – then he can’t use that you know in his defense that he can’t remember. He’s choosing not to do it,” says Lorene Bible, victim’s mother.

But even while the court case is on hold, authorities are working on fresh search efforts. They believe 16 year olds Ashley Freeman and Lauria Bible were held at this now vacant site in Picher for some time before they were killed.

“That sort of gave us a ground zero to start from in regard to mine shafts,” says Ed Keheley, nuclear engineer.

They’re hoping to narrow down the 186 mine shafts in Picher enough to warrant a new search, find the teens, and give their families some closure.

“They’ve suffered long enough and we want to help them as much as we can with our expertise,” says Jim Martell, Tulsa geologist.

The case dates back to 1999, when the Freeman trail was burnt. The remains of Danny and Kathy Freeman were found in the ashes and the two teens had disappeared. Ronnie Dean Busick is accused of murder, kidnapping and arson in the case.

Meanwhile Lauria’s mother Lorene Bible is still waiting to find her daughter.

“He’s just here getting three square meals a day, being taken care of, nice warm – you know, I still go look for my child,” says Lorene Bible.

Defense attorneys say that they question Busick’s mental competency due to an old gunshot wound to the head along with years of drug use. They don’t know how long that will take to determine. Meanwhile, the case will hit the 19th anniversary of the crime in just a week.

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