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  • Writer's pictureDennis McCaslin

Nearly 25-years later, questions still remain on fate of missing Craig County teenage kidnap victims


At approximately 5:30 a.m., Dec. 30, 1999, members of the Welch Fire Department were called to the home of Danny and Kathy Freeman at 7856 S. 4390 Road, Welch, in Craig County


Upon arrival, firemen found a mobile home fully engulfed by fire.


During the investigation by members of Craig County Sheriff's Office and Oklahoma Bureau of Investigations, it was determined Kathy and Danny Freeman were killed by gunshot wounds to their heads and their daughter, Ashley, and her friend Lauria Bible, were missing.


Leads discovered in 2017 and early 2018, indicated Ronnie Busick, Warren Phillip Welch II, and David Pennington were involved in the crime. Welch died of ALS in 2007, while Pennington died in 2015 of chronic lung disease.


Busick, who had to be extradited from Kansas, was charged in 2020 with four counts of first-degree murder, two counts kidnapping and one count of first-degree arson, was sentenced to ten years after taking a plea deal.


According to information from the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, the plea deal Busick agreed to drew him the decade in prison after all the charges were reduced

to Accessory to Felony Murder. with a five year probation for a second count of the same crime.


Ronnie Busick

Busick later told reporters following his conviction that he and the others killed Kathy and Danny Freeman over “a cheap piece of dope” and that taking Ashley and Lauria was merely "opportunistic". He admitted to being there on the night in question but has denied having a direct role in the murders. 


Busick served 953 days in the Craig County Detention Center before being transferred to the Oklahoma Department of Corrections on December 9, 2020. He was released on May 19, 2023. His term was cut short after earning "accelerated credits" for good behavior.


He served just over five years for his part in the murders.


The missing girls, both 16 at the time of their disappearance, remain missing to this day. The investigation indicates Ashley and Lauria were kidnapped, tied up, raped and held in a mobile home in Picher by the three men for a matter of days before being strangled.


Persons with information regarding this case, are asked to contact the Craig County Sheriff's Office at 918-256-6466 or contact the OSBI at 800-522-8017 or tips@osbi.ok.gov.



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