The Murders of Lauria Bible and Ashley Freeman

Ashley-Lauria

Name: Lauria Jaylene Bible and Ashley Renae Freeman
Age: 16 years old
Last seen: December 30, 1999
Location: Welch, Oklahoma
Status: Missing, legally declared deceased

Lauria-Bible-Ashley-Freeman

Background Information

Lauria Jaylene Bible was born on April 18th, 1983, to parents Lorene and Stanley Bible in Claremore, Rogers County, Oklahoma. She lived with her brother Shane and parents in the city of Welch.  She was a cheerleader in High  School.

Lauria-Bible

Ashley Renae Freeman was born on December 29th, 1983, to parents Kathy and Danny Freeman. She lived in the city of Welch, with her parents and brother. Ashley was on the high school basketball team.

Ashley-Freeman

Lauria Bible and Ashley Freeman had been best friends since Kindergarten.

Lauria-Ashley

Disappearance

On December 29th, 1999, Ashley was celebrating her 16th birthday at home with her mum, dad, Lauria, and her boyfriend Jeremy Hearst. Ashley’s boyfriend, Jeremy left around 9:30 pm.

The-Freeman-family
The Freeman family

That night Ashley and Lauria were planning on having a sleepover at Ashley’s home.

On December 30th, 1999, a concerned neighbor called 911 at around 5:30 am, saying Freeman’s mobile home was engulfed in flames. The fire department rushed to the scene and put out the fire.

Lauria-Ashley-house

Once the fire was put out, police came to canvas the area, while searching they found Kathy Freeman, who was found lying on the floor near the waterbed with a gunshot wound to the back of the head.  She had been shot in the head at close range with a shotgun before the fire started. The bodies of  Danny Freeman, Ashley Freeman, and Lauria Bible were not found.

The police theorized Danny had shot Kathy and kidnapped the two girls.

Investigation

Around the time of the disappearance/murders, the Freeman’s were in a feud with the police department. Danny’s son Shane had been shot by one of the Craig County Sheriff’s Department police officers because he had stolen a car. Then, just before the disappearance/murders took place, Danny was planning on filing a wrongful death lawsuit.

The following day, the crime scene was open to the public and Lauria’s parents came to the scene. While looking around, within 5 minutes, they found Danny’s body, who had also been shot in the head at close range with a shotgun before the fire started.

Lauria’s vehicle was found parked in the driveway of the home, with the keys in the ignition, her purse with $200, and her ID inside was found in the rubble.

Authorities believed the cause of the fire to be arson, due to an accelerant found near the home’s wood-burning stove.

Update: Arrests

In April 2018, Ronnie James Busick, 66 years old, was arrested and charged with four counts of first-degree murder and malice aforethought, four counts of accessory to first-degree murder, two counts of kidnapping, one count of arson, and one count of accessory to first-degree arson.

Ronnie-Busick

Several witnesses, who either lived with the three men or dated them came forward to investigators saying they had bragged about the murders of Lauria Bible and Ashley Freeman.

Many Polaroid photos were said to have been taken of the two girls, bound and gagged with duct tape lying on a bed in their final days. These Polaroids were kept as trophies in a soft leather briefcase. These photos have not been recovered by authorities.

The other two men suspected of the murders of Lauria and Ashley are deceased. Warren Phillip Welch died in 2007 and David Pennington died in 2015.

Busick-Welch-Peddington

On July 15th, 2020, Ronnie Busick took a plea deal to help authorities find Lauria and Ashley’s remains, and admitted to being an accessory to murder.

Ronnie Busick was sentenced to 10 years in prison, with 5 years probation if he could assist investigators in finding the girls’ remains before August 31, 2020. Ronnie pointed investigators to a location in the town of Picher. They searched two root cellars but were unable to find anything.

Investigator’s theory

Investigators believe Ronnie Busick, Warren Welch, and David Pennington went to the Freeman’s home in the early hours of the morning of December 30th, 1999, to collect a drug debt from Ashley’s father.

After shooting Kathy and Donny, the three men kidnapped Lauria and Ashley and set the house on fire.

The girls were kept alive for several days in Picher, where the three men raped and tortured them. The girls were then strangled and their bodies were dumped in an unknown location.

Contact Information

If you have any information on the disappearance of Ashley Freeman and Lauria Bible please contact the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation at 800-522-8017 or send an email at tips@osbi.ok.gov.

The search for the remains of Ashley and Lauria is ongoing. A private reward of $50,000 is being offered for any information related to the location of the girls’ bodies.

Lauria-Bible-Ashley-Freeman-missing-poster

Resources and Further Information

Investigation Discovery: Disappaeraed Season 6 Episode 9 “Out of the Ashes”

Ashley Renae Freeman

Lauria Jaylene Bible

https://www.oxygen.com/crime-news/ronnie-busick-gives-details-on-lauria-bible-ashley-freeman-abduction

https://www.fox23.com/news/local/missing-welch-girls-crews-returning-picher-new-search-girls-remains/ETI2MHLGEVB3THTNS4W7M6AENE/

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