According to a news release, a three-year-long case review into the murders of three Mayes County girls from 1977 is coming to an end with no new answers.
In the summer of 1977 in Locust Grove, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation was called in the assist with the murder and sexual assault of 8-year-old Lori Lee Farmer, 9-year-old Michele Guse and 10-year-old Doris Denise Milner.
After an investigation by many law enforcement agencies, less than a year later, Gene Leroy Hart was arrested for the crime. However, after a long trial, a jury acquitted Hart of the charges.
The investigation continued, and hundreds of leads were followed, most of which led back to Hart. However, Hart had died 66 days into a 300-year prison sentence for kidnapping and raping two pregnant women.
The case has remained open with an OSBI agent on it, in hopes that improving technology would eventually provide answers, according to the release. About three years ago, the OSBI Cold Case Unit, funded through a federal grant, reviewed the case and identified evidence that might benefit from new forensic testing.
OSBI Director Stan Florence said, "When I became Director three years ago, I authorized a comprehensive review of the entire case to identify any possible leads we may further develop and explore additional scientific measure that could draw a clear conclusion to the case."
According to a news release, thanks to this review, over 200 items of evidence have been tested using up-to-date forensic techniques. Now, after the request of Farmer's parents, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children agreed to assist in the investigation.
In 2013, Mayes County Sheriff Mike Reed, the OSBI case agent and the OSBI lab director went to meet with NCMEC experts in Virginia, according to the release. After experts reviewed the case, the release says a few pieces of evidence were submitted to a private lab for testing.
"For the last year, the Mayes County Sheriff's Office has been working hand in hand with the OSBI and NCMEC to review the case from every possible angle. Our sole mission has been to pull our agencies together as one team, try to find some answers, and bring final justice for the families and citizens of Mayes County," Reed said.
Now, after three years, the case review is ending with no new leads. OSBI wants to provide answers to the families and ask anyone with information to call the OSBI at 1-800-522-8017.