Suspect arrested in 1999 disappearance of Welch girls, murders of one girl's parents

Ronnie Dean Busick is charged with murdering Danny and Kathy Freeman, setting their house on fire and kidnapping and later murdering Ashley Freeman and Lauria Bible. (KTUL)

A suspect is in custody nearly two decades after the murders of Danny and Kathy Freeman and the disappearance of their daughter, Ashley, and her friend, Lauria Bible.

Craig County District Attorney Matt Ballard named three suspects Monday in the 1999 case. Ballard said new evidence led investigators to arrest Ronnie Busick on four counts of murder, kidnapping and arson. The other two suspects, Warren Welch and Dave Pennington, have died.

Investigators say the Freemans were shot and killed at home in Welch before the house was set on fire. The girls, both 16 at the time, were nowhere to be found.

Ballard said the three suspects kept the girls alive for a time after the kidnappings, though it's not clear how long, and even took Polaroids, showing them to multiple people over the years. Investigators are now focused on finding the girls' remains.

Busick is currently in jail in Harvey County, Kan.

Investigators are asking anyone who may have information to call (800) 522-8017 or email There is a private $50,000 reward for information.

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