VINITA, Okla. (AP) — A man charged in the 1999 deaths of an Oklahoma couple and the disappearance of their 16-year-old daughter and her friend said he doesn’t know when the missing victims are, but that he’s willing to speak with the victims’ families.
Ronnie Dean Busick made the comments as he arrived at an Oklahoma jail on Wednesday after being extradited from Kansas. He was charged Monday with four counts of first-degree murder, two counts of kidnapping and one count of first-degree arson.
The 66-year-old is accused of fatally shooting Danny and Kathy Freeman, whose bodies were found in their burning home in Craig County on Dec. 30, 1999. Investigators believe the couple’s daughter, Ashley Freeman, and her friend, Lauria Bible, were killed later, though their bodies were never found.
As he arrived at the Craig County jail in Vinita, a city about 60 miles (96.6 kilometers) northeast of Tulsa, Busick said he didn’t know the whereabouts of Ashley and Lauria but that he would “talk to the families.”
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“If he wants to talk to the family, he must know something,” said Lauria’s mother, Lorene Bible.
The initial investigation went cold, but authorities said a review in recent years uncovered new evidence, including witness statements linking Busick and two other men to the killings. The other two men have since died.
Authorities said several witnesses alleged the men killed the Freemans over money owed for drugs.
Authorities believe the teenagers might be buried in a pit near Picher, a former mining boomtown in Oklahoma that has largely been deserted because of pollution. The area is about 40 miles (64 kilometers) northeast of Vinita.
“It’s missing 18 years, you know,” said Lauria’s uncle, Lonnie Leforce. “I never got to see the girl at her 18th birthday, 21st, graduate high school, college, none of that stuff.”
This story has been corrected to show that Ronnie Dean Busick was charged Monday, not Sunday.