During late December 1999, two teenager girls Lauria Jaylene Bible and Ashley Renae Freeman disappeared in Welch, Oklahoma, and they were never found till this day.
In the early morning of December 30, 1999, a fire was reported at the Freeman residence, leading firefighters to arrive on the scene.
Following the fire’s extinguishment, the bodies of Freeman’s parents, Danny and Kathy, were found. Both had been shot at close range. Despite searching through the rubble of the house, authorities were unable to find any trace of Bible or Freeman.
The Background Story
Lauria Bible and Ashley Freeman, who were high school friends, spent the evening of December 29, 1999, celebrating Freeman’s sixteenth birthday .
Bible’s parents granted her permission to stay the night at Freeman’s residence.
At around 5:30 a.m. on December 30, a passerby notified 9-1-1 that the Freeman home was ablaze. Law enforcement officials later concluded that the fire had been deliberately set.
In the aftermath, Kathy’s charred remains were discovered in her bedroom; she had been shot in the head. Initially, no other remains were found, leading investigators to speculate that Danny Freeman, Ashley’s father, had k*illed his wife and fled with the two girls. Bible’s vehicle was found in the driveway with the keys in the ignition.
On December 31, Bible’s parents returned to the scene and discovered another body while searching the rubble. The second body was identified as Danny’s, who, like his wife, had been shot in the head execution-style.
Despite the discovery, law enforcement was unable to locate any trace of Bible or Freeman. In 2010, the Freeman family filed a legal petition to have Ashley declared deceased.
In the decade that followed the disappearance of Bible and Freeman, two convicted k*illers, Tommy Lynn Sells and Jeremy Jones, made confessions about kil*ling them, but later recanted their statements.
A 2001 episode of Unsolved Mysteries revealed that rumors had circulated among locals about a long-standing dispute between the Craig County Police Department and the Freemans.
The family had recently lost a son, Shane, who was shot by a deputy after stealing a car. Although the shooting was ruled as justified, the Freemans had threatened to file a wrongful de*ath lawsuit.
Ronnie Busick is Arrested
In April 2018, reports emerged that Ronnie Dean Busick, 66 years old, had been arrested and charged with four counts of first-degree murd*er in connection with the d*eaths of Bible, Freeman, and Freeman’s parents. Two other suspects, Warren Phillip “Phil” Welch II and David Pennington, who had since passed away, were also identified.
According to The Washington Post, “at least a dozen” witnesses claimed that all three men had admitted to raping and mur*dering Bible and Freeman, and had even taken Polaroid photos of their victims as evidence.
Witnesses also alleged that the three men k*illed the Freemans over drug debts and held the girls captive in Welch’s trailer for several days before k*illing them.
Furthermore, a female witness who resided with Welch briefly after the disappearances provided a sworn affidavit stating that she overheard conversations between the three men in which they revealed that the murd*er victims owed them money.
According to the affidavit, Welch kept a briefcase containing Polaroid photos depicting both girls “bound and gagged with duct tape and lying on a bed,” with Welch present in some of the pictures.
Trial and Sentencing
On July 15, 2020, Busick pleaded guilty to being an accessory to first-degree mu*rder in the d*eaths of Danny and Kathy Freeman, as well as the arson of their home in Welch, Oklahoma and the abduction and presumed murd*ers of Bible and Freeman.
He admitted to withholding information about the involvement of Welch and Pennington. Busick was sentenced to 15 years in prison for the crime, with 10 of those years to be served in confinement.
He was released released from prison on May 19, 2023 after serving less than three years.
According to the Oklahoma Department of Corrections (DOC), Busick was well behaved in prison. As a result, he received credits.
He got 60 of these credits every month, which is like getting two days off his sentence for each day he was in jail. So, even though he was in jail for less than three years, he was given credit for some of the time he had already spent in jail, which is why he gets to leave jail earlier than you might expect.