Only living suspect enters guilty plea in case of missing Welch, Ok. girls


NORTHEAST OKLAHOMA — Two girls get together in Oklahoma for a sleepover in 1999.

Lauria Bible and Ashley Freeman were hanging out just like any other night at Freeman’s house.

But little did Lauria’s parents know, it would be the last time they ever saw their daughter, her friend, and her friend’s parent’s alive.

Just one suspect is still living… A man accused of playing a role in their murder who plead guilty in court today.

But that’s not what Lorene wants–and she’s not done fighting.

Lorene Bible, Lauria’s Mother, said, “Cause the girls are still not, we don’t know where they’re at.”

After more than 20 years–Lorene Bible is so close to having closure.

“Lauria was a big part of all our families lives, Ashley was a big part of the Freeman’s and Lauria and Ashley were best friends, and for them to be taken off the face of the earth like they didn’t even exist, all we’ve done is fought, fought, fought….investigated I mean, the hours and hours and miles, I had a van one time and we put in four months time, we put 400 thousand miles on that van looking.”

And now–one of the men involved in their disappearance and the murder of Danny and Kathy Freeman — is headed to prison.

69 year old Ronnie Dean Busick pleaded guilty to accessory to first degree murder in Craig County court.

Matt Ballard, District Attorney, said, “This is a tough case and that decision was made in consultation with the families of the girls, and that’s been a priority from the beginning for us so that’s one of the difficult decisions that we made, to make that a priority, but I think that will give the family closure and serve a measure of justice.”

“He’s had 20 plus years to come forward, but now, you know, it’s now or never,” said Bible.

Isaac Shields Asst. District Attorney, said, “So one of the things we look at when we’re evaluating what’s appropriate for sentencing, pretty much any sentence longer than this would be a death sentence for him in prison and so we had to take that into consideration when constructing a deal that would incentivize him to bring the family something they’ve been looking for for a quarter of a century.”

The plea deal requires Busick to help track down the remains of the teenage girls with a deadline of August 31st.

Lisa Bible-Brodrick, Cousin, said, “We’ve got a lot of work to do and a short amount of time to get it done, if it doesn’t happen then we’ll continue to do what we have to do afterwards but we’re really hoping and praying we get what we need in the next six weeks.”

If that’s successful Busick would spend five years in prison with another five years on probation with time served.

And Lorene knows, there’s still someone,who knows something.

“Cause there’s still too many people that are scared to talk and if two of them are dead and he’s in prison or jail for two and a half years, why are you still scared for,” said Bible.

The focus is firmly on Ronnie Dean Busick… And if he can’t just point to a map, it doesn’t stop there.

“If he’s unable to do that and it requires taking him to a specify location we’ll make those accommodations to make that a possibility,” said Ballard.

We asked Lorene about his prison time.

“Noooo, let him come out, he gone look over his shoulder and I’m going to be standing there, he’s going to know unintelligible so it’s his best interest if he knows something, he needs to tell,” said Bible.

Authorities previously identified David Pennington and Phil Welch as the other suspects, but both are deceased.

Busick will serve ten years if he does not lead police to the missing girls remains.

If you know anything about this case, you’re urged to call 1-800-522-8017.

You can and will remain anonymous.

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