News, Culture & Society

Suspect charged with murder in 1999 cold-case kidnapping of 2 girls

Authorities in Oklahoma have charged a 66-year-old man with the 1999 deaths of a couple and the abduction of two then-teenage girls who remain missing are but presumed dead.

District Attorney Matt Ballard said Monday that Ronnie Dean Busick is charged with four counts of first-degree murder, two counts of kidnapping and one count of first-degree arson.

Authorities say Danny and Kathy Freeman, of Craig County, were shot to death in their mobile home on December 30, 1999. The home was set on fire to cover up the slayings.

Cold case solved: Ronnie Busick, 66 (pictured left) has been charged with murder in the 1999 abduction and slaying of Ashley Freeman and Lauria Bible, both aged 16 (right) 

Investigators at the scene of the mobile home fire in December 1999, where Ashley's parents, Kathy and Danny Freeman, were found shot to death 

Investigators at the scene of the mobile home fire in December 1999, where Ashley’s parents, Kathy and Danny Freeman, were found shot to death 

Courtesy of FOX 23 

Officials say 16-year-old friends Lauria Bible and Ashley Freeman disappeared the same day and were never found. Lauria had gone to the Freemans’ home that night for a sleepover celebrating her friend’s birthday.

Ballard says two other men, identified as Warren Welch, 61, and David Pennington, 56, were involved in the double homicide, arson and kidnapping. 

Welch died in 2007 and Pennington passed away in 2015. 

Busick was arrested on Sunday and remains in custody in Newton, Kansas. 

According to a probable cause affidavit cited by Tulsa World, following their abduction, Bible and Freeman were taken to Welch’s mobile home in Picher, where the three suspects allegedly took turns raping them.

Within ‘a matter of days,’ the document stated, Pennigton and Welch strangled the teenagers to death.

Ashley Freeman, 16

Lauria Bible was 16 at the time of her death

Officials say Freeman (left) and Bible (right) were raped by Busick and his two accomplices, who then strangled the two 16-year-olds and disposed of their bodies 

Busick is being held in a Kansas jail. He is now the sole surviving suspect in the case

Busick is being held in a Kansas jail. He is now the sole surviving suspect in the case

Witnesses told investigators Welch was in possession of Polaroid photos that depicted Freeman and Bible lying on a bed facing one another, with their hands tied and their mouths gagged. 

Some of the ‘trophy’ images showed Welch reclining on the bed alongside the girls.

The first big break in the case came in December 2017, when Craig County Sheriff Heath Winfrey found a cache of notes relating to the missing girls when he was moving into his new office.

The documents have lead investigators to people familiar with the murders of Kathy and Danny Freeman, and others who have come forward about the case.  

Lauria’s mother, Lorene, spoke at Monday’s press conference announcing the charges against Busick and appealed for the public’s help in locating the final resting place of her daughter and Ashley Freeman. 

‘I need a place where I can go and say, “that’s where my daughter is,”‘ she said, according to NewsOn6.   



Read more at DailyMail.co.uk