The Horrifying Oklahoma Girl Scout Murders Remain Unsolved 45 Years Later

In the summer of 1977, three young Girl Scouts - Lori Farmer, Michelle Guse, and Doris Milner - were assaulted and murdered on their first night at Camp Scott in Mayes County, OK. Hours later, a camp counselor found the girls' bodies stuffed in their sleeping bags and scattered through the woods.

Decades later, local residents are still aghast at the details about the Oklahoma Girl Scout murders. Although evidence pointed towards one primary suspect, no one has ever been convicted for the three murders that took place 45 years ago. The unsolved Girl Scout murders remain one of the state's most disturbing cases.

  • On June 12, 1977, Three Young Girls Were Assaulted And Murdered

    Lori Lee Farmer (8), Michelle Heather Guse (9), and Doris Denise Milner (10) arrived for Girl Scout camp at Camp Scott in Mayes County, OK, on June 12, 1977. That evening around 7 pm, the three girls sought shelter from a thunderstorm in Tent #8, known as “Camp Kiowa.” The Tents where the Girl Scouts stayed were fanned out around the counselor's quarters in order to keep an eye on the girls, but Tent #8 was the furthest away and almost impossible to see at night.

    Around 6 am the following morning, a counselor named Carla Wilhite discovered the lifeless bodies of Farmer, Guse, and Milner stuffed into their sleeping bags near the main road into camp. All three girls had been sexually assaulted and beaten. Farmer and Guse were found to be bludgeoned to death, and Milner had been strangled. Their bodies were found approximately 150 yards from Tent #8.

  • Multiple People Heard Disturbing Noises The Night Of The Murders

    When police arrived on the scene, they found Tent #8 covered in blood. They also learned about strange noises that several other campers and counselors had heard throughout the night. Around 1:30 am, multiple people heard moaning sounds coming from the direction of Tent #8. Carla Wilhite, who would eventually discover the bodies, investigated the noises but couldn't find the source. Thinking it was most likely an animal, Wilhite went back to sleep.

    Approximately 30 minutes later, a camper in Tent #7 was awoken when someone with a flashlight opened the flap to the tent. At around 3:00 am, another girl heard a scream come from the section of camp where Tent #8 was located. At the same time, another camper heard a scream, followed by someone crying, "Momma, Momma." Unsure of what to do, both girls went back to sleep.

  • Farmer, Guse, And Milner Had All Met The Day They Were Murdered

    The three girls in Tent #8 had known each other for less than 24 hours when they were murdered. Lori Farmer was the youngest girl at the camp at just 8 years old. Michele Guse had previously attended Camp Scott and reportedly knew it well. Denise Milner had wanted to back out of the trip after two of her friends cancelled, but her mother encouraged her to go anyway. A fourth girl was supposed to stay in the tent with them but wasn't scheduled to arrive until the following day.

    During the day, the three girls had all participated in camp activities and written letters home to their families. Farmer reportedly wrote about Guse and Milner in her letter, saying that they were her new friends.

  • The Alleged Killer Issued A Warning About The Crimes Before They Happened

    In April 1977, just two months before the murders, a training session for camp counselors was held at Camp Scott. However, the weekend ended prematurely when a counselor's cabin was ransacked and a disturbing note was discovered in an empty box of doughnuts. 

    The handwritten note warned, "We are on a mission to kill three girls in tent one." Someone had also created an effigy of a man, which they hanged from a tree by its neck.

    While both the effigy and the note were strange and upsetting, the letter also mentioned Martians. The camp administrators dismissed the entire series of events as a tasteless prank.

  • Investigators Found Evidence Throughout The Campsite, As Well As In A Nearby Cave

    During the police's initial search of the 400-acre campsite, they found duct tape, rope, a flashlight, and women's eyeglasses near Tent #8. They noted that the flashlight had newspaper stuffed inside it to keep the batteries from rattling. It also had tape over the lens to dull the light. The duct tape and rope both matched the kind used on the three girls. Further away, police located a crowbar and several empty beer bottles. 

    As their search expanded, police found more duct tape along with groceries, photographs, and newspapers in a nearby cave. The newspapers were from the same issue found inside the flashlight. As if this wasn't enough evidence that the killer had been living in the cave, the words “The Killer was here. Bye bye fools. 77-6-17” were written on the cave wall.

  • Escaped Convict Gene Leroy Hart Was Arrested For The Murders

    After Farmer, Guse, and Milner were murdered, police suspected 33-year-old Gene Leroy Hart of committing the crimes. Hart had been sentenced to life in prison years earlier for the kidnapping and sexual assault of two pregnant women. Following his conviction, Hart had escaped from jail but was believed to still be in the area when the murders took place.

    Following a 10-month search, a tip led police to a cabin in Cherokee County where Hart was arrested on April 6, 1978. Hart was tried for the murders of the Girl Scouts in March 1979, but the jury found him not guilty. However, he did return to prison for his original crimes, where he died of a heart attack on June 4, 1979, at the age of 35.

    Hart was a member of the Cherokee Nation and was well-respected in his community, where he had been a high school athlete. Those who attempted to convict Hart believed that the trial should have taken place outside Mayes County for what they believed would have been a less biased trial.