The Unsolved Case of The Girl Scout Murders.
Heartbreaking Murder story of Michelle Heather Guse, Lori Lee Farmer and Doris Denise Milner.
In the early morning of June 13, 1977, a camp counselor was on her way to the showers when she found a girl’s sleeping bag near the forest and trail. Inside the sleeping bag would be an innocent victim, party naked, and brutally murdered. Tragically, it was soon found the 10 year old girl was not alone in this crime. Two other young innocent victims would be discovered in this heartbreaking brutal murder and sexual assaults.
Camp Scott, located in Mayes County, Oklahoma, was in it's 49th year of operation in the summer of 1977. Planning for the camp's continuous success, counselors and other work members of the camp gathered two months earlier for a training session that would prepare and welcome over one hundred girls that would be attending the camp for two weeks. During the camp's training session, a camp counselor noticed that her cabin and belongs were ransacked. The most notable items that was strangely stolen was a number of donuts. Inside the donut box that was left behind was a note that looked to be hand written in a heist-ful manor in all capital letters. The note disturbingly read, “WE ARE ON A MISSION TO KILL THREE GIRLS IN TENT ONE.” It was then later discovered that a fake body was also found hanging from within the camp’s property. The note and the fake body were brought the attention of the Camp's training Director, who dismissed everything as a prank. Managment of Camp Scott failed to meet the responsibilities to inform parents of what should have been seen as a threat to the children's safety.
Camp Scott opened for all who attended on June 12th with all preparations and up coming summer seasons would continue accordingly. All tents, including tent one, underwent the normal camp protocol and was assigned the usual number of members in the tents.
The camp separated all girls as evenly as possible having 10 camp sites on the grounds. Each camp site had eight tents, also counting the counselor's tent. Michelle Heather Guse (9), Lori Lee Farmer (8) and Doris Denise Milner (10), who preferred to be named Denise, would become fast friends, being assigned to tent number eight on the camp site Kiowa. Thier location was the farthest tent from the counselor's tent being at more than 70 yards away. Originally the girls were supposed have a fourth member lodging in with them, however, due to a type calculation error the fourth girl was mistakenly sent to tent one on the camp site.
The camp's error was not the only occurrence that saved the unknown girl's life from the horrific events that would happen that night. A thunderstorm arriving at the hour of 7 p.m during dinner time, caused the counselor to direct everyone to their assigned tents. Advicing the fourth girl to disregard moving her belongings for the night and stay in the tent she was placed in; deciding it may have been too dangerous moving during the storm.
That night, before bed, the girls wrote their last letters to their families. The most heartbreaking letter was written by Denise who wrote to her mother stating she didn’t like camping and didn’t want to be at the camp for two weeks. She strongly wrote she wanted to come home.
Claiming to be either the hour of or a little over the hour of midnight, Carla Wihite, a camp counselor admitted to investigators that she woke up to noises within the camp site. Carla described the noises as gurgling moans, harsh groans, and language-less as she skimmed through the camp site with her flashlight. She dismissed it as a type of animal, seeing that everything looked in order with the all the tents, retiring back to her tent to go back to sleep. Alerting no one.
Within the same hour duration, other girl scouts and coworkers around the camp site later reported seeing a light within the forest of the camp, but dismissed it as nothing alarming. It was soon later discovered one of the girl scouts lodging next to tent eight was awake when she heard a girl's voice crying out for her mother more then once. The young scout recognized the voice as her friend Lori Lee Farmer, who knew had a strong attachment to her family. She dismissed it as Lori not being able to sleep and did nothing further, going back to sleep. It was even reported that two men were seen on the property of the camp before night fell and the storm's arrivel that fatal day. Other events were reported such as personal belongings gone missing, other strange abrupt screams that night, along with tent flaps being opened with a bright flash light while campers were trying to sleep. All that occurred were dismissed by Camp Scott's management and it was even said that the girl scouts were assured that nothing alarm was happening. Such a decision would haunt many and devastate loved ones.
On June 13, 1977, Carla Wihite, the same camp counselor who heard noises the previous night, was on her way to the showers at the hour of 6 a.m. Jogging there she cought the site of a sleeping bag near some trees. She mentioned she thought it was left behind luggage by some of the girls getting settled in the day before. As she approached, to her horror, she found the body of 10 year old Doris Denise Milner inside the sleeping bag and uncovered. She was Bound, beaten, party nude, and lifeless. Carla quickly alerted all management as it was soon discovered there were two more sleeping bags near the location. Afraid of the horrifying assumptions of what or who could be in those bags, the camp called the authorities to the premises.
All parents of the Girl Scouts were notified that a disturbance had occurred and thier children would have to be picked up at the counsel building at the highest of thier urgencies. The Girl Scouts were not informed of any information and panicked parents/guardians of over 100 girls blocked the entry way of the trail, also unknown to any information.
Authorities would later testify that there were indeed two more murders on the premises. In the two zipped sleeping bags were the bodies of 8 year old Lori Lee Farmer and 9 year old Michelle Heather Guse both facing each other in fetal position wrapped in bloody bed sheets. Also bound with elastics, beaten and showed clear signs of sexual assault. To the parents/guardians of the young victims, the devastating news would be delivered by the police.
The investigation was in full operation once the camp was cleared and carried on the next day, June 14, 1977. The 3 precious victims were found approximately 150 yards away from their tent. Authorities would testify that both Lori and Michelle had died from blunt force trauma to the backs of thier heads and the death of Denise would lead them to to believe that strangulation was the cause. Detectives also came to the conclusion that Denise was lead away from her tent, still alive. Her face had been beaten so brutally that the weapon used for the attack remained unclear and unknown as to how many weapons there were.
The items found on the crime scene that were used to bind and silent the girls were ropes, black duct tape which caught a long black hair that didn’t belong to either of the girls, a red flash light with a finger print on the lense and carefully pre-swon gags. Blood on the floor of the inside of the tent indicated that the girls were attacked while they were sleeping and then were taken outside. It also seemed the killer(s) may have tried to clean up the blood and mess but was unsuccessful and instead smeared all over the crime scene, finding a bloody nine and half male size shoe print inside the tent. Blood was also found on the towels and mattresses.
The finger print on the flash light lense mysteriously did not match any Federal data bases once dusted and scanned. Nor did it match anyone in the in any state.
Investigation lead to a man who owned a ranch near Camp Scott. On his his property he had the same identical rope and duct tape that were used for the murders. But he was quickly dismissed as a suspect giving the evidence that his property was actually broken into the night prior to the attack, claiming that at the time he had no idea was was stolen. With the help of a polygraph test and a reliable alibi, thus, authorities had no reason to keep the rancher under suspension. Authorities came up with a new suspect by the name of Gene Leroy Hart.
Gene Leroy Hart was raised just a mile away from Camp Scott. Hart was convinced of the kidnapping and rape of two pregnant women along with four court order of first degree burglaries. Sentence to 308 years in prison, Hart escaped the Mayes County Jail and had been at large since 1973.
The largest manhunt in Oklahoma would find Hart taking residence in the home of a medicine man by the name of Pigeon. There was no physical evidence linking Hart to the murders of the three young girls at the time. However, his victims who survived recalled and testify that he made strange noises during his attack. Similar noises to what the camp counselor’s heard. It was brought up that Hart used rope and duct tape akin to how it was used on the three young innocent victims.
Hart was arrested within a year after the discovery of a cave. This cave was approximately 3 miles away from Camp Scott and seemed to have been inhabited by someone. Inside, authorities would find several items such as women’s underwear, a pair of women’s glasses, crumpled up photos of women, and news paper clippings of the story of the scout murders. Items stolen from the camp were also discovered along with a note written on the wall that read, “ 77-6-17 The killer was here. Bye Bye fools.” Thus linking this to Gene Leroy Hart.
With further investigation, the case would soon rule out Hart as the murder due to the lack of evidence. Even though the hair sample found on the crime scene was a match to Hart, the bloody foot print, and finger print would not match with him at all. Bodily fluids on the bodies of the the girls would also not match Hart's DNA exactly. Not enough to charge him of Capital Murder, Hart was still sent to jail to complete his 308 year sentence having only served 3 years. However, Two months after being sent back to jail, Gene Leroy Hart died of a massive heart attack at age of 35.
To this day this case continues its investigation. The killer(s) have not been found and no other suspects ever surfaced. No evidence would provide the reason as to why girl's lives were taken that night. Over 40 years has past and families members will not rest until the killer(s) have been cought and brought to justice.
June 13, 1977 would close the doors of Camp Scott forever and to this day is left abandoned. Memories of Michelle Heather Guse; a returning Girl Scout, Lori Lee Farmer; recorded the youngest girl who had attended the camp, and Doris Denise Milner; the first and only African-American girl that attend the camp, would live on and never be forgotten.