Share story

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Suspects in the 1999 shooting deaths of an Oklahoma couple and the abduction of their 16-year-old daughter and her friend “bragged” about photographing the girls while they were bound, according to a court affidavit that outlines accusations against the only suspect who’s still alive.

The affidavit cites an interview with an unnamed witness who said Ronnie Dean Busick “started running his mouth” about his involvement in the slayings and kidnappings, and that the girls “were kept alive for several days” while tied up, raped and tortured in a mobile home in northeastern Oklahoma.

Busick, 66, was charged Monday with four counts of first-degree murder, two counts of kidnapping and one count of first-degree arson in the killing of Danny and Kathy Freeman of Craig County, and the disappearance of teenagers Lauria Bible and Ashley Freeman.

Busick, who is currently jailed without bond in Kansas’ Harvey County, was interviewed by investigators at least three times last year but denies having any direct knowledge about the case and claims he does not know where the girls are.

Busick was scheduled to be released Sunday after serving a 60-day sentence for violating probation in a 2013 felony marijuana possession case, said Jason Lane, the county’s chief deputy attorney.

Instead, law enforcement from Oklahoma arrived Sunday to interview Busick and served a warrant, said Melissa Flavin, a spokeswoman for the Harvey County Sheriff’s Office.

William Brown, Busick’s attorney in the probation violation case, did not immediately return a phone message from seeking comment. Lane said Busick doesn’t have an attorney in the Oklahoma case.

Authorities said the Freemans were shot to death on Dec. 30, 1999, in their mobile home in Welch, Oklahoma, about 70 miles (112.65 kilometers) northeast of Tulsa. The home was then set on fire to cover up the slayings. Two other suspects, identified by authorities as Warren Philip Welch II and David A. Pennington, died while the case was under investigation, authorities said.

Witnesses interviewed by investigators said Busick told them the girls were duct-taped to chairs and that a “bunch” of photographs were taken of them. Other witnesses recalled seeing photos of the girls “lying on a bed, facing each other, with their hands tied and their mouths gagged,” the affidavit said.

Authorities believe the teenagers were eventually killed and might be buried in a pit near Picher, Oklahoma, a former mining boomtown that has largely been deserted because of pollution.

Lauria Bible’s mother, Lorene Bible, said she believes “somebody knows where these girls are.”

“We’re not finished. I will not stop until we bring the girls home,” Lorene Bible said. “I need a place where I can go and say that’s where my daughter is.”

The affidavit said Busick and the other suspects were linked to the case last year after authorities recovered a crate containing reports and files about the original investigator from the office of a former sheriff. Some documents were recovered from a private investigator who had also worked on the case, but investigative materials produced by a different private investigator were destroyed, the affidavit said.

Busick had multiple Kansas drug convictions, and he was imprisoned off-and-on in the state starting in the 1980s, Kansas Department of Corrections records show.


AP writer Heather Hollingsworth in Kansas City, Kansas contributed to this report.