People Magazine Investigates Recap for Bible Belt Massacre
People Magazine Investigates: Bible Belt Massacre focuses on the unsolved murder of Danny and Kathy Freeman and disappearance of Laura Bible and Ashley Freeman. Laura is described as a country girl who loved her family, while Ashley was an outgoing girl who enjoyed being outdoors.
THE MURDER AND THE KIDNAPPING
Ashley and Laura were best friends who spent a lot of time together, even after Laura and her family moved. On December 29, 1999, the girls got together to celebrate Ashley’s birthday. However, the night would end in tragedy, with the girls disappearing and Ashley’s parents being murdered. The Freeman house was also burned down.
Firefighters went to the scene to extinguish the fire, but were unable to find any bodies. Laura’s brother Brad went to see what was happening, only to discover the worst. Other friends and family discovered the news and were terrified that there were no survivors.
DISCOVERING THE BODIES….AND THE MISSING
Pretty soon, Kathy’s body was found with trauma to her head area. Her death is now considered to be foul play. None of the other bodies were found right away.
An autopsy revealed that Kathy was shot in the head and her death is ruled a homicide. The fire was then considered to be an arson.
During this time, there is an anonymous tip called in, claiming that Danny was spotted in a truck. At this point, authorities want to end the investigations, but the Bibles and Daniel’s brother want to continue searching, especially since it is a crime scene.
The next day, they discover that the family dog Sissy miraculously survived and was sniffing at a specific area. She also had bones in her mouth, which were later determined to belong to a human. It is at that moment that they discover Danny’s body. It is confirmed to be him due to the stainless steel attached to his skull. His brother Dwayne said it was there due to an accident he had several years prior.
Dwayne recalls how Danny told him that if something happened to him, to look at the Craig Country Sheriff’s Department. Danny suspected that they were somehow responsible for his son Shane’s death. Shane had gotten himself in trouble with the law several times, which led to him being shot and killed by a sheriff.
This led to an all-out war between the Freemans and the department. Danny was even threatened by a sheriff a few weeks before his death.
A NEW INVESTIGATION BEGINS
An autopsy determined that Danny was also murdered. Since his body was discovered, the thought that he took the girls is no longer a possibility. Authorities continue to look for Ashley and Laura without any results. At this point, the girls are considered to be missing, leading to a massive search for them. Dwayne then brings in his own investigators.
The new investigators find a car insurance card for a woman living fifteen minutes away and go to question her. However, she has no clue as to why her car was at the Freeman residence, but thinks her boyfriend Philip Welch may know. They track him down to a hamburger joint and begin to talk to him, but only begin questioning him when an alert about the girls comes on the radio.
Philip claims he was not around that day, nor did he have any knowledge of the case. He is not yet a suspect, but investigators still think the insurance card holds a clue. They track down the car, where they find garbage, girl’s clothing and rent check receipts made out to Philip. They go to question the person who made out the checks, but come to another dead end.
MORE SUSPECTS QUESTIONED
Friends and family raise reward money and bring more awareness to the fact that the girls are missing. This leads to Jeremy Jones becoming a suspect since he was not only a violent criminal, but in town during the girls’ disappearance.
However, he was not captured until 2004, when he was arrested for another murder. When he is questioned, he confesses to the crime, as well as to murdering thirteen other girls. He also tells them where Laura and Ashley’s bodies are, details about the fire and several other things regarding the murder and kidnapping.
Investigators go to find the bodies, but then Jeremy recants his confession. He goes back and forth several times, frustrating everyone involved. The bodies are not found.
In 2012, it is discovered that Jeremy was arrested about an hour before the murders/kidnappings, making it impossible for him to have done it.
Philip becomes a suspect once again, when it is determined that he had the missing persons poster of the girls. It is then that he is determined to be a dangerous man who possibly had ties to Danny. Dwayne didn’t know anything about this other than the fact that the two lived near each other.
At this point, David Pennington and Ronnie Busick are considered to be accomplices in the case. Phil’s girlfriend says that there wee pictures of the girls, which had them in different locations by Philip’s trailer. They were in disturbing positions and said to have been tortured and raped.
ANOTHER TWIST AND AN ARREST
When they go to question the guys, it turns out that Phil and David are both dead. Ronnie is the only one alive, and in 2017, they receive information about the insurance card and the receipts that one of the investigators kept for many years. This leads to giving more evidence against the men and enough to arrest Ronnie.
Ronnie begs for a lighter sentence and says that all this happened due to a debt Danny owed. Several more disturbing details are released, including another place where the girls’ bodies could have been disposed.
Dwayne says that he wishes that this information was followed up with when it was found in the first place.
Ashley and Laura’s remains have yet to be found and the remaining family and investigators won’t rest until they find them.