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Taun

The Girl Scout Camp Murders

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I did a forum search for this and found it has been mentioned but in a topic of its own...

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On June 12th 1977, three young girls from Tulsa, Oklahoma - Lori Lee Farmer, 8, Michelle Guse, 9, and Doris Denise Milner, 10, were at Camp Scott – a Girl Scout camp near Locust Grove, Oklahoma, with about 100 other girls.

This link is from a 2008 post by gaia227… so if you’re still here Thanks!

http://voices.yahoo....481.html?cat=37

There is a forum specifically for this case for any interested…

http://girlscoutmurders.yuku.com/

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It was Incredibly irresponsible of the counselors to ignore the girls report of some creepy man peeping his head in the tents and another being grabbed.

Yes, that is the most incredible thing about this to me... I've looked around to see what (if anything) was done to them, but can't even find their names - except for Barbara Day... I'm sure they felt just absolutely horrible about it all, and it probably haunted them for the rest of their lives ... but still, they should have at least conducted a head count to see if any of the girls had wandered off in the confusion...

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With the girls reporting a man being around and grabbing one of them I think I would of called police, posted guards, something.

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The comment by Barbara Day that she had received death threats for the camp and that '4 girls would be killed' struck me as interesting... Each of the other tents had four girls in them... A last minute change had the victims tent with only three... So the killer may have known a lot about how the camp was set up and run...

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Found this website if anyone is Interested:

http://www.girlscout...s.com/index.php

Thanks, every interesting site... I was reading about some of the people involved and was struck by a comment by the judge following the acquital verdict "Sometimes in our system of justice, even the guilty go free"... Seems the judge was fairly convinced that Hart was the guilty one...

Also I note that earlier I stated the girls were carried 150 yards from their tents.. apparently it was 150 FEET not yards... my bad...

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Actually Thomas J that was an excellent site about this crime... I am learning a lot of things about it I never knew.. Right now I am reading up on the medicine man Crying Wolf, and his being questioned about 'skin walkers' and 'Stageny' and if Hart was one or thought he was one...

Very interesting find thank you very much...

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Two books have been written about the murders, the first by two of the OSBI agents Mike and Dick Wilkerson (brothers) called "Someone Cry For the Children", and the last one which came out last year by Gloyd McCoy titled "Tent Number 8"... I am going to look on line tonight and try to pick up a copy of both of these books...

As we say here in "Okie-land" I'll let y'all know how they are...

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Ok getting death threat and still opening the camp not good. Why were the girls camping a little ways from the camp? Why didn't the someone post guards? Was everyone that worked there told about the death threats? There are more holes in this than a peice of swiss chesse.

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Ok getting death threat and still opening the camp not good. Why were the girls camping a little ways from the camp? Why didn't the someone post guards? Was everyone that worked there told about the death threats? There are more holes in this than a peice of swiss chesse.

The only thing I can think of (and this is not an excuse, just possibly a reason) is that it was the 70's... In places like Eastern Oklahoma it was still the 50's (culturally) and things like this just weren't 'real'.... Sadly it is cases like this that make us so security concious today...

In the link that Thomas J provided they pointed out that prior to this camp murder, there had never even been a horror movie about it... Friday the 13th came out later (and I believe it was the first of the 'camp/teen slasher' movies..)... To a great many people it was just too horrific to actually believe it could ever happen.... Like I said - not an excuse... just a possible reason...

Edited by Taun
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I can't even imagine how furious the parents must have been at that camp, and rightfully so. Like Taun said I'm sure the counselors felt terrible but man, if a child says something like that you take it 100% serious. I don't care if you think the kids are making stuff up or not, better safe than sorry.

I'm curious though, even if Shroff passed the lie detector test how did they explain the matching footprint?

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I can't even imagine how furious the parents must have been at that camp, and rightfully so. Like Taun said I'm sure the counselors felt terrible but man, if a child says something like that you take it 100% serious. I don't care if you think the kids are making stuff up or not, better safe than sorry.

I'm curious though, even if Shroff passed the lie detector test how did they explain the matching footprint?

From what I can gather, he had reported that he had been robbed of several items prior to the murders - specifically black electrical tape, etc... The same footprint was found near his barn/shed and it did not match any footwear of his....

I just ordered both books about the murders on line so after I read them i will have a better idea...

Edited by Taun
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I just ordered both books about the murders on line so after I read them i will have a better idea...

You seem very enthusiastic about this case since you're already ordering books! I guess if you've got money to spend you may as well though, huh? :tu:

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You seem very enthusiastic about this case since you're already ordering books! I guess if you've got money to spend you may as well though, huh? :tu:

I've been casually interested in this case for a long time - as I said earlier here in Oklahoma it's been a topic of discussion for a long time... The books are used and I got each for about $9 dollars... (with shipping)...

And what's not to get excited about this case? It's got mystery, Native American medicine men, supernatural claims (skin walkers), politics (The American Indian Movement - AIM- got involved) the largest manhunt in state history, various death curses (The tracking dogs were cursed by a medicine man and within hours the first one died of heat stroke, and the second inexplicably got loose and ran in front of a truck on the highway...) - The chief suspect was given a curse that if he was found not guilty he would die, and within three months of the acquittal he died of a heart attack....... And through it all no justice for those three children... (edit to add - factor in a racially charged jury - that may have acquitted him because he was 'one of theirs meaning a local football hero and a member of the tribe)

What's not to find interesting about this case?

Edited by Taun
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I've been casually interested in this case for a long time - as I said earlier here in Oklahoma it's been a topic of discussion for a long time... The books are used and I got each for about $9 dollars... (with shipping)...

And what's not to get excited about this case? It's got mystery, Native American medicine men, supernatural claims (skin walkers), politics (The American Indian Movement - AIM- got involved) the largest manhunt in state history, various death curses (The tracking dogs were cursed by a medicine man and within hours the first one died of heat stroke, and the second inexplicably got loose and ran in front of a truck on the highway...) - The chief suspect was given a curse that if he was found not guilty he would die, and within three months of the acquittal he died of a heart attack....... And through it all no justice for those three children... (edit to add - factor in a racially charged jury - that may have acquitted him because he was 'one of theirs meaning a local football hero and a member of the tribe)

What's not to find interesting about this case?

I didn't mean for that to sound negative or anything above, I was under the impression this was something you had come across recently. And yes I agree, it's definitely an Interesting case and by all means if you want to know more about it the two books published are probably some of the best resources you can find. Happy Investigating!

Edit: Spelling.

Edited by Thomas J

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I didn't mean for that to sound negative or anything above, I was under the impression this was something you had come across recently. And yes I agree, it's definitely an Interesting case and by all means if you want to know more about it the two books published are probably some of the best resources you can find. Happy Investigating!

Edit: Spelling.

(as your people might say) No worries mate! I didn't take it as anything negative... though I must now confess that after reading your post I was told that one of the books - "Tent Number 8" is available on Nook (which I subscribe to) so I just plunked down another 8 bucks for a digital copy.... Sometimes I'm a doofus.... :huh:

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I think the most perplexing aspect of the crime is that the girls were taken from their tent. Why? And why would two be in sleeping bags? Because of the blood in the tent, it sounds like the two girls in sleeping bags could have been killed there (which is what could explain the sleeping bags), but then why move them after they're dead?

I'll be searching for more facts.

Hart was an interesting suspect, but I'm not sure he was the perp.

Thanks for presenting this very interesting case, Taun.

Edited by regi

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I think the most perplexing aspect of the crime is that the girls were taken from their tent. Why? And why would two be in sleeping bags? Because of the blood in the tent, it sounds like the two girls in sleeping bags could have been killed there (which is what could explain the sleeping bags), but then why move them after they're dead?

I'll be searching for more facts.

Hart was an interesting suspect, but I'm not sure he was the perp.

Thanks for presenting this very interesting case, Taun.

I'm a couple chapters into the book "Tent Number Eight" and it was determined that the two girls that were found in sleeping bags, were killed, molested, then placed back in their bags and taped up, then placed where they would be found... A truly evil individual... Also, while the police and searchers were out looking, apparently he snuck back into camp, and left a pair of shoes from one of the girls, on the steps of one of the main buildings... Basically taunting the searchers...

About Hart... The author of the book seems (so far) to be of the same mind as you... He presents the case that the Sherriff - who knew Hart well - 'had it in for him'... The Sherriff was quickly coming up on re-election and Hart had escaped from his jail a couple years earlier and he had never found him - making the Sherriff look bad...

Personally, I'm still leaning toward Hart being the perp, but I'm trying to keep an open mind...

Edited by Taun

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The girls (all three) were killed in the 'tent' (actually more like a cabin with canvas sides), the two youngest were apparently asleep when he entered, while the oldest may have been awake trying to write a letter home...

While I haven't read a complete descriptive time line of the actual crime yet, I gather that he strangled the eldest then bludgeoned the two sleeping ones... put the two youngest in their bags, and carried all three (if it was Hart, he was a very fit athletic man) 150 feet away where he could molest them without the noise alerting anyone... I could be wrong on the details, as I said I'm only a couple chapters into the book...

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I just visited a web site devoted to this crime and found out that the tents were indeed tents... they were setting on raised wooden floors however..

here are a few pics... two of where the bodies were found (the two youngest still present - as no one had opened the sleeping bags yet - they still thought they only had one death) and another of tent number 8..

Tent Number 8:

gsm2_zps682eafe7.jpg

The site where the bodies were found, moments after they discovered the two other bodies:

gsm3_zpsd9bc4c63.jpg

The two youngest as they were found:

gsm1_zps45d2968e.jpg

pics from this website:

http://girlscoutmurders.com/

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That web site, "girlscoutmurders", has a link to some of the testimony from the pretrial transcript. The testimony is from counselors from the Kiowa "arm" of the camp (where the murders occurred). If any of the girls reported anything out of the ordinary, it apparently wasn't reported to those counselors whose testimony is available.

The counselors were there at the camp for orientation the week before the children were to arrive. Per her duty, and before she left the camp on the Friday before the children were to arrive that Sunday, Dee Elders (one of the three counselors assigned to Kiowa) checked all the tents for any needed repairs. She testified that when she returned Sunday, she saw that one tent, tent 3, had a slash in it.

Another counselor, Carla Wilhite testified that she saw about a six inch rip in the front flap of the tent, but testified that it could have been caused by the wind. (I don't know if the tent flap had been visible the previous Friday so that the rip- if it was there at that time- could have been noticed, but it's certainly appears sinister when considered with info that there was also a threatening letter received. (I seem to recall that that letter was found during the week of orientation, but I'll have to go back to verify that.)

Wilhite offered the most enlightening testimony as far as the evidence is concerned. She testified that after the murders, when she went back to collect her things, that a pair of her eyeglasses (she had two with her) and her kapo (an elastic guitar accessory) which she had left on a shelf top of a crate beside her bed, were missing.

She identified her missing items by photos shown to her during her testimony. Apparently, the items had been collected from the campgrounds somewhere. The items were State's Exhibit 10 (kapo), Exhibit 11 (eyeglasses), and Exhibit 12 (eyeglass case).

Wilhite testified that she'd heard a noise late that Sunday night and it appeared to come from an area by a gate...that the noise didn't sound human or animal, but when she focused her flashlight in that direction, the noise stopped.

She testified that Susan Emery (the third counselor) had said that someone had taken her purse. (I assume that was said after the murders.)

It had rained the first evening of camp and a towel had been hanging out to dry (somehow, it hung off of the counselors tent) which appeared to have a blood smear on it, and (of course) it was collected as evidence.

It'd be great to have the trial transcript. It should be obtainable, but at a cost.

I'd be willing to pitch in so that it can be posted.

I'm still reading through the newspaper articles linked to from that website.

I've read that the evidence that first linked Hart to the murders was two photos. I've read in one place that the photos were found near the bodies, and then read in another place that they were found near the camp- but a warrant was issued for Hart based on those photos. Now, he was already a fugitive for several years and so he was already under a warrant, but he wasn't wanted for questioning regarding the murders...he was already accused of committing the murders!

(I should explain that it was reported that while in prison, Hart had been an assistant to a photographer, and that the photos had been taken at a wedding at which Hart had assisted the photographer, and that Hart had developed the negatives and prints in the prison darkroom.)

Edited by regi
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The book I'm trying to read (I don't care much for the authors style of writting) addressed some of what you raised...

According to the book - Wilhite was the only counselor that was notified of 'night noises'... She did a cursory check by flashlight and decided to not wake up the other couselors among her reasons was that she was young (still in college) and was afraid that they would think she was too young for the responsibilites (I imagine she regrets that greatly)... The other reports of 'being grabbed', moaning noises, and some one crying "Momma", came during police interviews with the children - not that night...

The tent rips have not been mentioned (yet) so I don't know about them - but it is very possible that it was 'normal wear and tear' ...

The photographs were found in a near by cave along with a carved inscription that the killer had been there and some mocking comments toward the police... As the photo's don't show the girls, or the camp, the only signifigence to them is that they were known to have been developed and owned by Hart - and they were found in very close proximity to the murder site... I'm not sure why Hart would have carried the photo's around - they certainly weren't spectacular in any regards... His supporters claim that the Sherriff planted the photo's... Who knows...

As I said in an earlier post, the author of the book is taking the stance that Hart was framed for the murders - so i don't know how much that will color what is in the book... The second book I ordered "Someone Cry For The Children" was written by two OSBI agents (who had no political axe to grind with Hart) - so I am waiting to read it to decide how I feel about Hart..

If the transcript isn't too hideously expensive i would'nt mind chipping in... It might be too long to post on UM but it could be linked I'm sure...

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I've read that the other book on the case is biased the other way...

I've gone back over the pretrial testimony. Dee Elders testified that after the discovery of the murders, the children were taken to a hall where they had breakfast. The weren't aware that anything had happened, and later, Barbara Day- the camp director- asked the children if they'd heard anything the previous night, and apart from noises and sounds from other children, no one had heard anything.

Re: that threatening note, that info came from wikipedia and I'm not sure how credible the source is because it appears to be a newspaper article. The info the site reports is that the note was found two months before the murders...that three campers would be murdered...and that the camp director subsequently discarded the note. At this point, I'm not sure what to make of that info.

Same with the tear in the tent. I'm not aware that a knife was used in the commission of the murders (it might seem more sinister if one was) but who knows if it was even relevant to what ultimately happened?

Wilhite didn't testify that she was notified of night noises; the children were noisy as was expected on the first night of camp and they were up late giggling and laughing and had to be quieted down at least a couple of times.

At about 1:30 am, Wilhite (and I think her co-counselors also), heard the latrine door slamming. Wilhite went out and found the girls from one tent returning from the latrine, and so she escorted them back to their tent.

Wilhite got up one last time when she and Elders heard the same unitentified noise. Wilhite described the noise as sounding like "a fog horn, a frog, or a snore."

I don't know why Hart would have kept those photos in the first place, and why he still had them in his possession, but he did and he was a fugitive and was hiding out near where he'd grown up. My point is, why wouldn't he be? He was close to the camp, but he was also close to where he'd grown up. I don't mean to defend Hart... his record showed him to be a rapist. He was also a burglar. I'm just not sure he was also a murderer.

According to an article (I'll have to locate the link), there were three other person's of interest; Sonny James, Frank Justice, and Bill Stevens.

The transcript could be expensive...I think it depends on the length- I don't know- but I agree re: the expense.

Others would have to be willing to pitch in if it's a considerable cost.

Anyway, one way or another, I'm looking forward to learning more about this case.

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All I know is that several years afer this, I worked in a girl scout camp as a counselor, and security was still not up to par. While they did lock the gate at the entrance every night, there wasn't much else they would do, as far as I know. But because of this, it was discussed among camp counselors. We made plans of how to react and the roles each would play to stop this type of crime should something like this occur. Some secretly had guns in the camp. We institutted a buddy system with the girls while they were moving around ini camp, with clusters of three or more girls.

I am sure the land owners surrounding the were assessed as well.

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