Search Picks Up For Welch Girls Missing For Nearly 2 Decades
PICHER, Oklahoma -
Investigators spent the day in Picher on Tuesday searching an area of interest in the case of Lauria Bible and Ashley Freeman. The two girls were just 16 years old when they were kidnapped in Welch, and never seen again.
Bible and Freeman were kidnapped in Welch in 1999, and were never seen again.
Investigators want to make it clear: there's no greater or lesser chance of them making a breakthrough this week versus any other week they've searched, but they're not giving up on bringing the girls home.
Detectives used new technology, including a ground-penetrating radar, to search for any clues as to where the girls might be.
Lauria's mom, Lorene Bible, told News On 6 that it's her advocacy for her daughter that has kept the searches going over all these years.
"If you’re not out there tooting your horn, being your daughter’s voice, nobody cares," Lorene said. "Every day, people go missing. Every hour, somebody’s gone missing.”
Several agencies, including OSBI, Quapaw Nation, and TPD's Dive Team, scoured one specific area in Picher - the area where suspect Phil Welch's home was located in the 1990s.
Welch is suspected in the murders of Bible, Freeman, and Freeman's parents, Danny and Kathy Freeman.
David Pennington and Ronnie Busick are also suspected in the crimes, but Busick is the only one still living.
Even after 20 years, Lorene said it's hard not to get her hopes up every time a search party takes place.
“You always want to find something," she said. "You want today to be the day that that part ends, so I can go to the next. But I also know it’s just part of the process.”
Busick is set to go to trial for four counts of first degree murder, but it's been a slow court process. His next preliminary hearing is in September 2019.