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Small Oklahoma community reacts to arrests in cold case

WELCH, Okla. - "The big news today is that an arrest has been made,” said Tyson Wynn, during his radio show on Monday.

Wynn runs the low power radio station in his hometown.

The murders of Danny and Kathy Freeman and the disappearance of Ashley Freeman and Lauria Bible have been casting a shadow over the community for almost two decades.

"It's been a part of my life, well, everybody's life for the past 18 years,” Wynn said. "I think the biggest concern that kind of is rippling out from everybody is why did this take so long?"

December 30, 1999, authorities were called about the Freeman mobile home being on fire.

They found the bodies of Danny and Kathy in the rubble of the fire, but their daughter and her best friend who was spending the night were nowhere to be found.

And, to this day, they have never been found.

"I already knew 95 percent of what was in that affidavit,” said Lorene Bible, Lauria’s mom.

Lorene said she hunted down and spoke to many of the people now identified in a probable cause affidavit that was released on Monday.

That affidavit is for the arrest of Ronnie Busick, who authorities said committed the crimes, along with Phillip Welch and David Pennington, who are both deceased.

According to the affidavit, Busick has denied actually committing the crimes but never actually denied being there the night of the fire.

Lorene believes Busick should be locked up for the crime even if he didn’t pull a trigger or set the fire.

"Well, you're guilty by association," Lorene said. "If you didn't stop it, you're guilty."

She also believes something should happen to the numerous people identified in court documents that said they saw pictures of the girls bound and gagged or had knowledge of the crime but never came forward.

"There should be something happen," Lorene said. "Or, they can take it to their grave and they'll meet their maker."

Lorene remains convinced she will find her daughter’s remains.

And, after that happens, she said she plans to turn her attention to the law enforcement agencies and the many mistakes that were made during the investigation.

"I will start the biggest mess up that has ever started,” Lorene said.

For many in Welch, the arrest brings an end to some speculation and worry.

"You're kind of glad to learn that it wasn't the neighbor, you know, it wasn't somebody that's still hanging around here," Wynn said. "You're sad these people are anywhere, but you don't want them to be somebody that was just down the road and got away with it for the past 18 years."

It is some closure for the community but not for a mother who said she cannot rest until she brings her daughter home.

"Ain't nobody want her brought home more than I do,” Lorene said.