Latest search for missing Welch girls comes up empty

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WELCH, Ok. — In what could have been the best bet to find two missing Welch girls, search crews headed back to Picher Tuesday.

There was a lot of hope this would be the day to find Ashley Freeman and Lauria Bible.

But the search came up empty once again.

Lisa Bible Brodrick, Family Member, said, “It’s always disappointing, but we’ve done this so many times before.”

Another day of searching, leads back to the same results.

Lorene Bible, Victim’s Mother, said, “20 years of up and down, up and down – you don’t get up, your hopes up that you’re going to put all your faith that today’s the day. Because as it turned out, it’s not here.”

Two lots in south Picher, information from Ronnie Dean Busick, the only suspect to plead guilty in a 20 year old cold case.

Crews excavated a root cellar on one former residential lot then another site just to the South.

Turning up dirt and concrete and little else.

Isaac Shields, OK DA #12 Office, said, “It could be he’s trying to convince himself or convince us whatever it could be he’s mistaken.”

Matt Ballard, OK District 12 DA, said, “I’m glad that we see that he’s actually providing information. Whenever we began this process he wan’t cooperative at all.”

Busick is the only one of three suspects still alive who had been accused with the 1999 murder of Danny and Kathy Freeman, burning down their mobile home, and kidnapping and killing Lauria Bible and Ashley Freeman.

Last month he pleaded guilty to accessory to second degree murder.

The plea deal calls for 10 years served in prison, a total that could be cut in half if he leads investigators to the remains of Lauria and Ashley by August 31st.

“You’ve got a few days left to be telling what you know if you know anything, if not then get ready to take the consequences,” said Bible.

The search isn’t over.

Investigators are already focusing on the next dig.

That’s not based on information from Busick – but other sources that they’re continuing to work.

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