Monday, November 07, 2016

Mystery Monday: The Girl Scout Murders

It's an exciting day on my blog. Today, I introduce a brand new feature:



Every Monday, I'll present a new mystery. Some have been solved...some remain unsolved to this day. Today's mystery is one I had never heard of until recently...and I was a Girl Scout in the 70s. Warning: This one involves the deaths of young girls.



The horrible events of June 13, 1977 seem to have been forgotten for those who don't live near Tulsa, Oklahoma. But once you hear the story, you'll never forget it. Especially when you see the young, innocent faces of the victims.


Michelle Heather Guse, Lori Lee Farmer, and Doris Denise Milner were like any other girls between the ages of eight and ten. They had friends, families who loved them, and promising futures. They headed off to Camp Scott with no idea that just two months earlier, a camp director had found a note that threatened to kill three little girls. The director had assumed the note was a prank and tossed it.



Lori, Doris, and Michelle were assigned to Cabin 8, which was located farther from the counselor's tent than all the others.



On the evening of June 12, the girls wrote in their diaries and went to sleep. Just after midnight, one of the camp counselors was awakened by a strange sound. She described it as a guttural sound, not human but not like any animal she'd heard. She investigated, but couldn't find anything.



Others reported hearing the same guttural sound that night. One girl said she heard a young girl crying for her mom and others said a man looked into their tent and walked away.



The next morning, the camp counselor who had heard the strange noise left her tent early to take a shower. On her way, she noticed some strange items under a tree. She then saw some sleeping bags. She called the police.




At some point in the night, the girls had been taken from their tents, attacked, and murdered. A variety of clues led police to this man, an escaped convict who was living in the area at the time.



Although local authorities were certain of his guilt, a jury acquitted him. He was still serving his original sentence when he died while lifting weights in the prison yard. Although many people believe he did it, he was never found guilty of the crime, leaving the possibility that the murderer was never caught.




Perhaps most chilling of all was something Doris Milner's mom revealed in a documentary called Someone Cry for the Children. On her way to the camp, the girl asked her mother what would happen if everyone in the world died. Her mom said that couldn't happen, to which the little girl said, "Everyone's going to die tomorrow." The murder happened the next day.

What's the most haunting mystery you've ever heard?

If you want to help out with my Piper Morgan to the Rescue release blitz, fill out the form below. You only have to post on Twitter or your blog sometime between November 14-18--I'll send you all the info. you need to participate!


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50 comments:

  1. I wonder if that girl had a premonition of her own death? Scary that the murderer was able to take all three girls from the tent with no one seeing him do it.

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    1. The more true crime I read/watch, the clearer it is that the mid to late 1900s were a difficult time. There was an innocence in the 50s that carried over to the 60s and beyond...people didn't think these things could happen in "safe places." I know we don't have the innocence people had then, but it's better that we now know to put safety measures in place so that things like this are less likely to happen.

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  2. That's horrifying!!! Poor babies!!!

    I was wondering the same thing as Alex....

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    1. I watched "Someone Cry for the Children" (which is narrated by Johnny Cash, by the way!) and that tent was a little too isolated. There was also the naivety of the time and the fact that everyone was in tents. No one could have really seen it unless they left their tents and the only one willing to do that was that camp counselor.

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    1. It is VERY creepy. It seems a little like a campfire story we would have told at camp as a kid, actually! Kids love to torture other kids with scary ghost stories.

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    1. I agree. I want to put a big safety bubble around every kid in the world!

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  5. Utterly chilling and so very sad.

    I was a girl scout (briefly, and a few years after this tragedy) and I remember camping out in the woods, how isolated it was, etc.

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    1. I was a Girl Scout around 1980, so not long after this. I didn't last long. The first campout, it rained the entire time and someone wanted to demonstrate how you can make rain come in the tent if you put your finger on the inside of it. So all of my stuff was soaked. UGH! I still don't camp to this day.

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  6. I wonder if the guy died before DNA testing was invented or would they even bother since they felt so sure.

    It boggles me that anyone could be that silent. I hear everything at night.

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    1. DNA testing was definitely NOT a thing. I'm reading about a murder in 1991 right now and even then, confessions were the key to closing a case. They didn't even understand false confessions back then. Even with the O.J. trial, they had a tough time getting the jury to understand DNA. CSI helped all of that...now they're able to go back and solve cases from the late 1900s using DNA technology. A LOT of people have been let out of jail because of it, which is how we had to all finally admit that false confessions can happen--because they HAVE in so many cases!

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  7. Here is a link to the murders of children in my home county of Oakland, MI. It was a scary time for everyone. http://www.clickondetroit.com/news/defenders/oakland-county-child-killer-40-years-later

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  8. How horrible! He should have reported the note...

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    1. I agree...although I do question whether the note actually said THREE girls. They slept in groups of four... But maybe he deliberately looked for a tent with three girls in it.

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  9. Some awful things happen in this old world of ours.

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    1. Totally agree. There are some monsters out there.

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  10. way too creepy and sad too

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    1. I agree...especially for the parents. It was tough watching their interviews in the documentary.

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  11. I read about this murder while I was doing research on unsolved cases. Very very creepy. Those poor, innocent girls.

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    1. I was drawn in the first time I heard about this. So tragic.

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  12. You always find such interesting things to write about! I love mysteries. Great new feature! Makes me so angry when kids are involved. I want to hunt down the killer myself. I've never heard of this. So sad.

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    1. I do, too. I think it's probably the guy who died in jail, but it's sad that the parents never had closure of seeing him punished for it.

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  13. I'm reading Sharp Objects right now and the stories are somewhat similar. Whoo, this world, it can be a doozy.

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    1. I read that one. I couldn't get into it...not sure why! I think because it was too much about the reporter and not enough about the crime (which was the interesting part!).

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  14. I haven't heard of this before today. Yikes. Scary.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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    1. I have a feeling a lot of people have never heard of it.

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  15. I'm obsessed with stories like these. Id network, 48 hours, etc! Off to read that link someone posted.

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    1. LOL, me, too! Disappeared was my addiction until they ended the series. I loved the way they put those stories together. I initially learned about this one through the Generation Why podcast, then I luckily was able to watch the documentary during one of the brief times it was on YouTube before it was pulled down.

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  16. The ominous note should not have been disregarded. Just a couple of night-watchers would have helped. It would seem the poor child did have a premonition. Gads.
    A sensational beginning for Mystery Mondays!

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    1. I agree...this is one of the most haunting stories I've heard in a long time. Today the note wouldn't have been disregarded, right? I feel like we had to go through years of horrible things happening before people finally realized horrible things CAN happen and put safety measures in place.

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  17. Very disturbing that someone could not only do such a horrible thing, but to three innocent little girls.
    My eyesight is very bad. When I first glanced at the photo, I thought it was an older photo of Chevy Chase.

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    1. I can see how you would have seen that if your vision was blurred!

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  18. I don't recall hearing that story either. But I didn't watch the news in the 70s unless I had to do an assignment for school and it required watching or reading the news. It is horrible that he was never caught. Hope something equally terrifying happened to him.

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    1. I didn't really pay attention to the news when I was in school, either. Most of my news in high school and college came from Saturday Night Live!

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  19. Well this is absolutely horrific, what a terrible story, I'm so sad this happened.

    Rosy | Sparkles of Light Blog

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  20. Such a terrible story, how awful for the families. I wonder if Doris had some kind of premonition, I do hope not.

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    1. I hope not, too. Maybe just a bad feeling.

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  21. This is very sad and would the state or police dept ever think of exhuming the body of the man who may have done it to get some DNA? Would the evidence have DNA that could last this long? It could be him since there were no further killings. Usually this type of madman doesn't stop just at 3. It is spooky that the girl had this premonition

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    1. That's a good idea. I wonder if they might have had DNA on him already? I know DNA collection was sketchy back then, but there have been cases from the 70s and 80s that have been solved because they saved DNA evidence in case someday the technology could do something with it.

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  22. Truly tragic. Whoever did this deserves to burn for eternity.

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  23. What a terrible story. I was a Girl Scout around that era (and all the way through high school).

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  24. OMG! What a sad event and so eerie that a child would say something like that to her mother. I'll be checking in every Monday - I write crime so this kind of stuff is so interesting (in a not weird at all way). Thanks for the post and the research you've done, Stephanie. Have a lovely week.

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  25. That's chilly and so sad. It's hard to image how a person could take all three girls without them screaming or making some type of noise. Great new feature, Stephanie.

    Thoughts in Progress
    MC Book Tours

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  26. That's a horrible mystery. I didn't like going to Girl Scout camp and just looking at the photo of the tent made me uncomfortable, let alone knowing what happened there. Creepy.

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  27. Holy crap that's awful, and really creepy that one of the little girls might have had a premonition of her death. I don't know if there's any unsolved or creepy mystery that really stands out to me. Although some of the unsolved mysteries in Liane Moriarty's "Last Anniversary" were really intriguing if that counts, lol.

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  28. So very sad!! And, really creepy, from what the young girl said! How tragic!

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  29. I know your focus is on the story, but my attention was drawn to the prosecutors. They don't know if they captured the right guy? While it is hard to determine who the "right" person is, I don't like the way the police push one person's guilt in the courtroom. Who knows what the police have against this person and whether or not he is actually guilty of the crime or if the police just have something against the person. I know, I know. Let's not get into Black Lives Matter or Blue Lives Matter. Really, it's just what came to mind when I was reading your post. Either way, it's really sad that some sick person decided to kill 3 (seemingly random?) girls, just to get back at the camp director (I assume) for whatever (random?) reason.

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