Special to the Grove Sun
WELCH — New information was released Wednesday about vehicles seen in the area where two Craig County teenagers went missing more than a decade ago.
A small, dark-colored sedan was seen near a mobile home belonging to Danny and Kathy Freeman, Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Jessica Brown said.
The Freemans were shot to death. Their bodies were found in their home, which had been set on fire. Authorities think the fire was set to cover up the slayings.
The four-door car was seen traveling east on a rural road toward Welch between 5:30 and 6 a.m. on Dec. 30, 1999, Brown said.
Best friends Lauria Bible and Ashley Freeman disappeared in the early hours that day. Lauria had spent the night at the Freemans' home to help Ashley celebrate her 16th birthday.
Brown said authorities received the lead early in the investigation and are now making it public.
OSBI investigators were told this year that a dark-colored pickup was seen heading north toward Chetopa, Kan., about the same time, Brown said. Chetopa is 12 miles north of Welch on U.S. 59.
"We don't know any specifics about either driver," Brown said.
"I hope it leads somewhere," said Lorene Bible, Lauria's mother.
Bible said she wonders why it took the OSBI 10 years to release the information about the sedan.
Brown said the lead had to be determined to be credible before the information could be released to the public.
Brown said OSBI has not positively identified any suspects in the case. The fire left investigators little forensic evidence, she said, and the remote location of the mobile home a few miles east of Welch meant there apparently were no witnesses.
The fire was reported at 5:50 a.m. The Welch fire chief said the fire probably was set between midnight and 3:30 a.m.
On Oct. 18, Ashley Freeman was legally declared dead by a Craig County judge.
How to help
Anyone who has information about the case is asked to call the OSBI at (800) 522-8017.