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The 1977 Camp Scott Girl Scout murders

  • 2 min to read
2017-06-11 ne-campscottlocatorg1

The Tulsa World spent a year producing a six-part narrative on what remains perhaps the state's most infamous cold case: the unsolved murders of three girls — Lori Farmer, Denise Milner and Michele Guse — at a Girl Scout camp near Locust Grove 40 years ago. Arrested after an intense manhunt, Gene Leroy Hart, who was charged with the crimes, was ultimately acquitted after a sensational trial. The series examines the details of what happened and the lingering effects on those who survived.

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Cookie Trail Road that the Girl Scout buses used to take into Camp Scott is still used today, now for hunters who lease the land. Tulsa World file

Part I: 40 years ago, the murders of three Girl Scouts in Oklahoma stunned the nation, created shockwaves still being felt

Located two miles from the town of Locust Grove in Mayes County, about 50 miles from Tulsa, Camp Scott had been operated by the Girl Scouts since 1928. In June 1977, it became known as the place where three Tulsa Girl Scouts were murdered.

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Lori Farmer, Denise Milner and Michele Guse

Part II: Hunt for accused Girl Scout slayer consumes region while dividing a community

The largest manhunt in Oklahoma history kicks off in pursuit of two-time prison escapee Gene Leroy Hart, who, despite being charged with the murders, has a growing number of supporters.

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Gene Leroy Hart (center) is led into the Oklahoma State Penitentiary on April 6, 1978, after his capture. OSBI Agent Larry Bowles is on the left with OSBI Agent Bud Ousley on the other side. Tulsa World File

Part III: Girl Scout murders trial 'was like watching a movie,' victims' families remember

One of the state's most-anticipated and sensational trials pits a seasoned, successful district attorney from Tulsa County against a scrappy, young Oklahoma City defense attorney in a battle over evidence and accusations that Hart is being framed.


Gene Leroy Hart covers his face after learning a jury had acquitted him of murder and is congratulated by attorney Gary Pitchlynn. Tulsa World File

Part IV: Stunning verdict, surprise prison death lead to 40 years of unanswered questions

Officials stop pursuing the case despite a not-guilty verdict, and Hart dies unexpectedly while in prison for unrelated crimes.

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Sheri and Dr. Charles "Bo" Farmer sit next to a painting of their daughter, Lori. A painter donated the artwork to honor their daughter, who was one of the victims at the Girl Scout camp 40 years ago. TOM GILBERT/Tulsa World

Part V: Finding good in the aftermath of the Girl Scout murders complicated

In the years following the murders, the survivors and others affected continue trying to make sense of it all, while maintaining hope that advancements in DNA testing may ultimately bring answers.

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Trees and shrubs have moved in where the former Kiowa Unit once stood at Camp Scott. The Kiowa Unit was where the murdered girls were staying in June 1977. JESSIE WARDARSKI/Tulsa World

Part VI: Those who lived through Girl Scout murders still feel impact 40 years after tragedy brought them together

After four decades, the victims' families show their resilience, undeterred by the mystery that still surrounds the case.

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Cookie Trail Road that the Girl Scout buses used to take into Camp Scott is still visible today. The property is now privately owned and leased for hunting. JESSIE WARDARSKI/Tulsa World

Epilogue: Light ultimately prevails in the re-telling of the 40-year-old unsolved murder case of three little girls

Tulsa World reporter Tim Stanley, author of the six-part series, writes about what drew him to the story of three Girl Scouts getting killed at Camp Scott.

Click here to read Tim Stanley's column on the year-long reporting of the Girl Scout Murders

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