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Girl Scout Murders 30 Years Ago Today

Added: Monday, June 11th 2007 at 10:20pm by southwesterngrad
Related Tags: religion

Girl Scouts no longer squeal with excitement as they hop off buses at the Camp Scott Lodge deep in the Mayes County woods. Their giggles no longer spill from canvas tents. Splashing at the camp pool ceased long ago.

The joy and laughter at Camp Scott ended 30 years ago. All that remains now are a few gutted buildings ravaged by time and heavily wooded trails haunted by the memory of three stolen souls.

On the hot, sticky morning of June 13, 1977, campers were awakened by the horrified screams of a counselor who discovered the bloodied bodies of three children.

The girls — Lori Lee Farmer, 8, of Tulsa; Michelle Guse, 9, of Broken Arrow; and Doris Denise Milner, 10, of Tulsa — had been abducted from their tents in the night and murdered. Their small bodies were found bloodied, bound and stuffed inside their sleeping bags 140 yards from their tent on the western edge of the camp.

No one has been convicted of the crimes. New DNA tests on Gene LeRoy Hart, the man charged but acquitted of the crimes, has been sent for analysis. DNA tests a few years back were inconclusive. Results should be back sometime this fall. Hart, an escaped convict, was returned to prison after the trial. Six months later, he died of a heart He was 35.

Ghostly remains
Camp Scott closed the day after the murders and has never reopened. Today, the deeply rutted dirt road — once named "Cookie Trail” — drifts into the dense woods and ends at the ghostly remains of the camp lodge. Screenless, wood-framed doors flap in the wind at the lodge entrances where excited girls once found refuge from a thunderstorm on the first day of camp in 1977.

A lone picnic table sits in the shadow of a blackened stone fireplace, perhaps just as it did 30 years ago.

Outside, weeds have overtaken the now empty cement pool. And if pieces of the wooden tent platforms remain, they have long been swallowed by the dense overgrowth of the woods.

The laughter of children, heard for nearly 50 years, is gone. Quiet relents only for the wind.

‘One of us was missing'
The last time Sheri Farmer saw her daughter alive, Lori smiled and waved from a bus window as it departed for Camp Scott.

Sheri and Charles Farmer of Tulsa have lived the last 30 years without their oldest child, a blond-haired, blue-eyed girl who protected her four younger siblings.

"Recently, we had the entire family here,” Sheri Farmer said this week in the sunroom of her Tulsa home. "Our youngest daughter, Kali, just gave birth to her first child, and our grandson, Chase, just graduated from high school. We had a lot to celebrate.

"We were all here together, and yet we weren't all here. One of us was missing.”

Since then, Farmer has been haunted by her daughter's final moments in the presence of one or more of her killers.

"Lori had two decks of cards she took with her to camp,” Farmer recalled. "One deck was found neat and in its case. The other deck had been strewn all over her sleeping bag. I imagine she was a bit nervous and excited by her first night at camp and probably couldn't sleep. She must have had her flashlight out and was playing solitaire when the killer came into the tent.

"I know she was so scared.”

After the initial shock and suffering, family life without Lori required adjustments.

Joli Beasley was only 5 when her oldest sister was murdered.

Beasley, now 35, clings to the handful of memories of Lori, like the time when her older sister helped her down from a tree. She can't forget the stigma of living in the shadow of a famous murder.

"We were always known as the kids who were related to ‘that Farmer girl who was murdered at that Girl Scouts camp,'” Beasley said.

The Farmer children weren't spared cruel playground whispers.

"Lori always had darker hair than the rest of us,” she said. "And we would hear things like, ‘Their mother bleaches their hair so it doesn't remind her of the daughter who was killed,' or how we kept a shrine in our house to Lori ... just crazy stuff.

"But those were the perceptions, even though none of it was true.”

As a parent, painful choices had to be made.

"I remember wondering how to answer someone who asked how many children I had,” said Sheri Farmer, now 61 and the founder of the Oklahoma chapter for Parents of Murdered Children. "Do I say four? Do I say five? Do I explain? Then one day I was stopped in a store and a woman said, ‘Oh, you have such beautiful children. How many do you have?' I said, ‘Four.'

"And one of the younger ones said, ‘No Mommy, you forgot Lori.' So I had my answer.

"From that day on I always said five.”

Lori was murdered five days before her ninth birthday, and she was buried days before Father's Day.

"So we deal with those dates in the same week every year,” Farmer said. "We changed as a family the day Lori was murdered.”

Misty Coates, the second-oldest of the Farmer children, shared a room with Lori. After her sister's death, Misty never slept in that room.

attack. (From DAILY OKLAHOMAN)

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User Comments

Wow, what a sad sad story. Makes you wish we had had DNA evidence a long time ago. I think they would have solved Jack the Ripper and the Zodiac killer if they had had that stuff.[SAD][HEART]
I'm hoping these new DNA tests will solve this finally.[HEART][HEART] Yes, it is a terribly sad story.[SAD][SAD]
What a very sad, but riveting story, Joan..... Those poor children! And, yet these things continue to go on and on..... what can we as a society do to prevent terrible things like this? I think perhaps we need a lot more education for parents on how to bring up good, decent, Christian human beings with true values... to be able to identify ones with mental issues..... Many children are brought up with no values at all, these days and those days.... What sadness it creates...... [SAD][SAD][SAD][SAD][HEART]
words fail me with this shocker. its also 30 years for a mystry here , the dissapearance from a crowded beach of the 3 beaumont children ,thier bodies have never been found or the abductor[SAD]
What a horrible thing--to never find those children. At least these families did have their children in order to give them a Christian burial. And how eerie that those events also happened at or near the same time as these.[SAD][SAD][SAD][HEART][HEART]
yes kev is right those kids here have never been found joan that story of yours is so sad it bet it is very eeerie there i can imagine it dna to late now hes dead sucks if he was the killer [HEART]
Yes, but perhaps it will help the families a little to know that he was the killer. If the tests come back negative, that will be devastating for them, I think. At the time, law enforcement officers were convinced he was the killer, but they just didn't have enough evidence not to leave room for reasonable doubt.[SAD][SAD]
The case in your area is even sadder. Those children never being found. What an eerie coincidence that there were three of them also and that they disappeared thirty years ago too.[SAD][HEART][SAD]
No matter how hard we try to protect them, the children remain vulnerable.
They do. But for the grace of God, there go we.[HEART][HEART]
So so sad, aren't our children safe anywhere anymore? Joan,[THUMBUP]

Sadly, they are not. It breaks my heart that our children cannot enjoy their childhood the way we did.[SAD][SAD][HEART]
so sad that justice is so slow in coming, and may not come at all.[MAD][HEART]
That is true, although the general consensus at the time was that he did it, but there wasn't enough evidence at that time to convict him. If these DNA tests come back negative, these families will just be devastated all over again.[HEART][HEART]
I wondered if the director should never have open the camp up if they got a warning note. They should have taken that threat serious instead of thinking it was a joke. My mom was only seven when the murders happened and my dad was either seventeen younger . My stepdad was younger also .

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