Search Underway in Picher OK for Missing Welch Teens

Local News

PICHER, Okla. — A new search is underway to try and find the bodies of two missing Welch teenagers.

Investigators are excavating an old root cellar in Picher, Oklahoma this morning. They’re looking for the bodies of Lauria Bible and Ashley Freeman — who were kidnapped and murdered in December of 1999.

Freeman’s parents were also murdered and their mobile home in Welch was burnt to the ground.
The location for today’s search was provided by Ronnie Dean Busick, who recently plead guilty to his part in the crimes. Busick told investigators that today’s search location is somewhere he’d been many times in the past, in order to get narcotics from another suspect, Phil Welch — who is now deceased.

Gary Stansell/ DA Investigator, OK District 12: “Now when asked why should we be looking at a root cellar, he mentioned that the other suspect, David Pennington, had made mentions that he had to fill in a root cellar shortly after the time of the crimes.”

Stansell says even if today’s search turns up empty, there are many other locations that they are wanting to search.

Ronnie Dean Busick is set to be sentenced for his crimes on August 31st.

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