WELCH, Okla. (KFOR) — A man who was serving time for the disappearance of two Craig County teenagers was released from prison.
On Friday, Ronnie Busick was released from the Lexington prison. He is the only living suspect in the case of two missing teenagers from Welch.
The case began in 1999 when investigators discovered the bodies of Danny and Kathy Freeman inside their burning home in Welch.
Authorities soon learned that the couple’s daughter, 16-year-old Ashley Freeman, and her friend, 16-year-old Lauria Bible, were missing.
Although rescue teams searched the area, they never found any sign of the teenagers.
The initial investigation didn’t get very far, but authorities said a review in recent years uncovered new evidence, including witness statements linking Ronnie Busick, Warren Phillip Welch, and David Pennington to the killings.
Several witnesses said the men killed the Freemans over money owed for drugs, according to authorities.
19 years after the murders, authorities charged Busick with four counts of first-degree murder in relation to the cold case. The other two men have since died.
In an arrest affidavit filed in Busick’s case, authorities believe Ashley Freeman and Lauria Bible were “kidnapped, tied up, raped and held at Welch’s mobile home for a ‘matter of days’ before being strangled.”
For 24 years, authorities have searched different areas of northeast Oklahoma and other surrounding states in hopes of finding the girls’ remains.
However, nothing has been found.
Busick received a 10-year prison sentence for his role in the case, but he also earned credit for time served.
He was released from custody on Friday.
The Department of Justice released a statement explaining his sentence and release from prison:
“Ronnie Busick received credit for time served in county jail and has since been receiving enhanced credits. He was receiving 60 days a month credit. He has five years probation which one year will be supervised.”Oklahoma Department of Corrections
Lauria Bible’s mother says 24 years later, she still doesn’t have closure. “I’m not out here to kill him. I want answers. And I’ll follow him. I’ll go wherever he goes, I’ll go,” said Bible.
If anyone has information on the disappearance of Ashley Freeman and Lauria Bible, please contact the OSBI at 800.522.8017.
A $50,000 reward remains active.