Ronnie Dean Busick, waived extradition and was transported from Harvey County Jail in Newton, Kansas on Wednesday, April 25 to Craig County to face murder, arson, and kidnapping charges in connection to the 1999 Lauria Bible and Ashley Freeman disappearances and deaths of Kathy and Danny Freeman.
Busick was charged by Craig County District Attorney Matt Ballard with four counts of first degree murder for killing Kathy Freeman, Danny Freeman, Ashley Freeman and Lauria Bible. Two counts of kidnapping for the abductions of Ashley Freeman and Lauria Bible and a final count of first degree arson for setting fire to the Freeman home,” Ballard announced.
Two other suspected perpetrators were identified during the course of the investigation, Warren Philip (Phil) Welch II, 61, and David A. Pennington, 56, both of whom are now deceased. Welch died in 2007; Pennington died in 2015.
Busick has a criminal and incarceration history with charges in 1986, 1996, and 2001 in Labette County Kansas for drug possession, and Harvey County Kansas on May 11, 2012 for a felony arrest for possession of drugs with a prior conviction in Hesston, Kansas.
According to the Kansas Department of Corrections records, Busick was known by other aliases including Buzz Busick.
Managing Editor Chad Frey from the Newton, Kansas newspaper The Kansan reported, Busick had lived in Hesston for several years, where he was "known to law enforcement" according to Hesston Chief of Police Doug Schroeder.
Schroeder would not comment on individual cases his department worked in connection with Busick. Schroeder believed Busick lived in Hesston for at least five years. District Court records list two different Hesston addresses for Busick. The Kansas Department of Corrections shows him in Harvey County in 2007.
According to the Kansas Department of Corrections, Busick had multiple Kansas drug convictions, and he was imprisoned off-and-on in the state starting in the 1980s.
In Harvey County, Busick was sued in civil court for unpaid bills three times. In May of 2012 he was charged and convicted for possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. In February of this year he violated his parole by not reporting to a parole office and using illegal drugs, according to court records. On Feb. 26, he entered the Harvey County Jail to serve 60 days.
Then came a call from investigators in Oklahoma who wanted to interview Busick. He was arrested for murder and other charges shortly after.
Ballard's Community Outreach Coordinator Michelle Lowry said on Wednesday when asked for an update , “Neither the DA nor the Sheriff are available and we’re not commenting further… we do appreciate the continued interest and coverage we just HAVE to get the girls home and we have to protect the integrity of the case so our hands are tied on what we can release (comments).”
The Bible family posted the following statement on Tuesday, Apr. 24 on the 'Find Lauria Bible' Facebook page the family maintains to disperse information.
“For more than 18 years we have searched for Lauria and Ashley. We have never stopped. Lorene, Jay, and and a small network of close family members have worked tirelessly to bring them home.
People have not felt comfortable reaching out to law enforcement for obvious reasons so in the days following this tragic event, we began our own investigation. Lorene vowed to leave no stone unturned. She became the voice of Lauria and Ashley. We collected notebook after notebook of tips and drove thousands and thousands of miles searching and talking to everyone who wanted to give us information.
Three years ago we began our Facebook page and the doors flew open. Shortly after that time, Tammy Ferrari and Gary Stansill were assigned to our case. They began a work that no one before them had done. We had so much information to turn over to them and they took every piece of it serious. The man charged with murder and the other two men mentioned but now deceased were all names we have had for years from tips received. The Polaroids mentioned, we’ve known about for years. None of this information was new to us, although seeing it on paper made it real for us.
For those of you questioning if “the crate” found by Craig County Sheriff’s Office lead to the arrest....the answer is NO! The Bible’s along with Tammy and Gary had been working this angle of the case even before the new administration for Craig County took over in 2017. That crate did offer up a few more pieces of this very large puzzle. Why did it take so long? This is a very in depth case and it simply took that long for all of the pieces to connect. The end result of our family working with Tammy, Gary, and the DA’s Office has lead to the arrest and now extradition of Ronnie Busick back to Craig County tomorrow.
At this time all focus is on finding Lauria and Ashley. We will continue to run our page as we always have and will continue to follow up on all tips given. We welcome all information leading to their recovery. Until they are home with us, this will never be over.”
On Wednesday, April 25, the family posted, “Today is another day of work for us. We wait for the arrival of Ronnie Dean Busick with a huge array of emotion, but we will not waste time, so we are still answering messages and collecting information. We are not spending a moments time right now worrying about was not done, but rather what we need to be doing and that is finding Lauria and Ashley. Nothing else. Please don’t lose focus on all the other things going on in the media. We must find the girls!”
An emotional post came in the early hours of Thursday morning from the 'Find Lauria Bible' page with a request for prayers and several pictures of Lauria ahead of an anticipated meeting between members of the Bible family and Busick at the Craig County Jail.
"As I sit on my top stairs in my house looking at a closed door of Lauria's room I ask God where do I go next. We have worked hard these last 18 years 3 months 28 days to get answers. I ask these questions God would not have brought us to this point if it was in vain. So I'm asking for pray(ers) this morning that when I visit with Ronnie Busick that he will give me answers to the questions I ask. It says in the bible where 2 or more come together and ask in prayer he is there. So at 3 am I'm asking for you to pray that the lord moves on Ronnie Busi(c)k and he delivers answers so that we can end this journey and bring our girls home. They deserve it. The family's need it. Thanks in advance."
In the early afternoon on Thursday, April 26, the page posted pictures of the now overgrown lot and what would have been the view from the backyard in Picher that once held a trailer occupied by the now deceased Welch at 412 College Street.
It is now believed the girls were taken there in 1999 after the Freemans were slain and their home set on fire.
According to numerous witness interviews with investigators, the now barren property in Picher is where the girls were held captive and brutalized for days before themselves being killed and their bodies disposed of in an unknown location.
Busick is set to be arraigned at 1 p.m., Monday, April 30 in the Craig County District Courty.