Vigil Held For Missing Welch Girls 20 Years After Disappearance


Monday, December 30th 2019, 7:06 pm
By: Kristen Weaver


Monday night marks 20 years since two teenagers from Welch disappeared.

Lauria Bible and Ashley Freeman were never found, and Freeman’s parents were shot and killed, and their bodies later found in their burned-out mobile home.

Now, the community is coming together to continue to honor their memory at a candlelight vigil.

Hundreds in the community gathered to share memories and remind the community that they haven’t, and won’t give up on the search.

It’s been 20 years since Lorene Bible’s daughter went missing and was never seen again. Lorene says time feels tricky.

“You know when it first happened we didn’t want to be here 5 years later, 10 years, 15, and now it’s 20,” Lorene said. “You learn time stops for nobody.”

Lorene also hasn’t stopped fighting to find her daughter and Ashley Freeman, who were taken from a Welch home on December 30, 1999.
Investigators believe the teens were dumped in a mineshaft near Picher and searched nearly 400 shafts to date, but haven’t found the girls.

“It’s been 20 years, but we're going to find them,” said Lauria’s dad.
 
You can see it on the faces of people in the crowd as they lit candles and let balloons fly—nobody has forgotten, nor have they given up.

Even investigators from the OSBI came to deliver a message.
 
“We are working furiously to find the girls,” an investigator said.
 
Earlier this month, jurors found Ronnie Busick competent for trial in the murders of Lauria, Ashley, and Ashley’s parents. Two other possible suspects are both dead.
 
“It’s like a two-sided coin,” Lorene said. “You have the judicial side with Ronnie Busick, and the other side is to find Lauria and Ashley.”
 
Lorene said she won't give up hope in finding her daughter.
 
“I’m like a bulldog. Until I find her, I’ll keep going.”
 
Busick is due back in court in February on the murder charges.

If you have any information on the girls' disappearance, call investigators. They say any tip helps.