WELCH, OK — Newly discovered investigative notes may have given Oklahoma police new clues in the unsolved 1999 mystery of two teenage girls who disappeared following a horrific double murder.
Ashley Freeman and Lauria Bible, both 16 years old, were last seen alive on December 29, 1999. They were at a sleepover at Ashley’s home celebrating her birthday.
On December 30, the bodies of Ashley’s parents, Danny and Kathy Freeman, were found inside their burned home near Welch. Investigators later determined that the pair were shot and killed before their home was set ablaze. Detectives found that the cause of the fire was an accelerant that had been placed near the stove.
But there was no sign of Ashley and Lauria, according to the CUE Center for Missing Persons.
Law enforcement has spent years following up on leads that took them to Canada and Mexico, but the case remained cold.
But now, Craig County Sheriff Heath Winfrey opened a closet and found a crate containing “unknown notes and documents he discovered referencing the Freeman/Bible case that was left from the previous sheriff administration,” Gary Stansill, District 12 District Attorney’s Office investigator, told the Tulsa World. Stansill said that the notes have provided additional leads on potential persons of interest.
Stansill said he and an Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation agent have interviewed several people who have knowledge about the shooting deaths of the Freemans and the disappearance of the teenagers. “These notes and documents have proven to be extremely valuable,” Stanstill said. “This information has produced leads that have produced additional leads.”
Police had previously investigated Jeremy Jones, 43, a convicted killer and rapist who once lived in Oklahoma. The suspected serial killer said in a confession to the media that he later recanted that he killed the Freemans over an unpaid debt and then set the home on fire, according to the CUE Center for Missing Persons. Jones also claimed that he shot the teens and left their bodies in a mineshaft.
But police found no evidence of their remains in a 2005 search of the area, according to the Tulsa World. So Jones has never been charged in the case and is currently awaiting execution in Alabama in a separate rape and murder.
The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) is offering up to $10,000 for credible information, and a private reward of $50,000 also reportedly stands. They have asked anyone with information about the case to call the OSBI hotline at (800) 522-8017, or to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are in search of a missing person, make sure to enter their information into the database of the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System.
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Main photo: Ashley Freeman and Lauria Bible [National Center For Missing and Exploited Children]