PICHER, Okla. — It’s another dig — keeping hope alive that two missing teenage girls from Welch might still be found. Find Lauria Bible and Ashley Freeman – it’s the single goal bringing dozens of investigators back to Picher.
“Well, every day you got to do something to try to bring these girls home,” said Lorene Bible, Lauria’s Mom.
It’s the 15th dig, at least, this time at two sites in the mostly abandoned town. The College Street location is central to the case.
“Where the Memorial site is, that’s where the trailer that the girls were held in is so they’ve decided to go with focus and make sure that there’s nothing there,” said Bible.
Crews used ground penetrating radar and a drone to get a different view of the dig site. It’s a repeat visit focusing this time on the porch-like add-on to the trailer home, as well as an old septic system.
“We had received some information recently about a possible hole that was underneath there, underneath mobile home so we want to just make sure that the couldn’t have been buried underneath a mobile home,” said Gary Stansill, Craig Co. DA’s Investigator.
The search did not turn up anything substantial.
Crews also searched an old root cellar about a block south of the memorial site. It’s a second dig on the site, which was successful this time. While investigators did find several items including a shirt and a bone – they are not believed to be connected to the case.
“It’s making sure that we know, we don’t ‘well, that spot that we missed, that spot that we missed.’ Well, now that spot we’ve checked it 100% they’re not here and continue on,” said Bible.
“The person that was convicted on this – Ronnie Busick – said he had thought they might be in a root cellar. He wasn’t for sure. And so this is about the only one left that we know of in this area, and we researched it in the back, and in the past, determined this may have been not occupied at the time,” said Stansill.
Lauria Bible and Ashley Freeman went missing in 1999, at the same time the Freeman mobile home was set on fire and Ashley’s parents, Danny and Kathy Freeman, were killed.