I can’t believe it’s been forty years.
On June 13, 1977, a terrible crime rocked the world that I knew. Three young Girl Scouts from my hometown area were found murdered outside of their tent at the Girl Scout property Camp Scott near Locust Grove, Oklahoma.
It hit very close to home for me not only geographically, but for a variety of reasons, and it continues to be an unsolved case and an unhealed wound in my home state. I didn’t want to let this anniversary pass without observing it.
I didn’t want today to go by without saying the names of these beloved girls:
Lori Lee Farmer (age 8), Doris Denise Milner (age 10), and Michelle Heather Guse (age 9).
The case was complicated by racial/ethnic tensions, because the victims were white and black, and the only official suspect, Gene Leroy Hart, was Cherokee. After a complicated and dramatic manhunt, Hart was tried but eventually found innocent. (Recent DNA tests proved inconclusive.) Since then, the case has remained unsolved, the fodder for local legends, suggestions of bizarre occult and ritual connections, and various conspiracy theories. The Girl Scout camp remains closed to this day.
For more information:* The Tulsa World just published a six-part series on the murders here: “40 years ago, the murders of three Girl Scouts in Oklahoma stunned the nation, created shockwaves still being felt.”
There’s also an audio version here.* Episode 169 of the Generation Why Podcast offers a thoughtful and detailed discussion of the murders and the subsequent investigation.
* The most famous book on the case remains Someone Cry for the Children: The Unsolved Girl Scout Murders of Oklahoma and the Case of Gene Leroy Hart by Michael and Dick Wilkerson.
* Photos of the abandoned site are posted here at AbandonedOK.
* The long-rumored movie supposedly designed to name an alternative murder suspect, Candles, is currently listed at IMDB as filming for 2017 release, but I remain skeptical that it will happen. It’s been listed as in pre-production/production for six years now, and each year the release date is updated.