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Locust Grove Girl Scout Murders

Camp Scott, a 610 acre summer camp for Girl Scouts and Brownies, was located three miles southeast of Locust Grove, Oklahoma. It was the site of the brutal bludgeoning deaths of three little Girl Scouts on June 13, 1977. Police arrested Gene LeRoy Hart, a Locust Grove native, and charged him with the murders of Lori Lee Farmer, Michelle Guse, and Doris Denise Milner.

Operated by the Magic Empire Council of Girl Scouts since 1928, Camp Scott was perfect for boating, hiking, fishing, and camping. Girl Scouts had come from the Tulsa metropolitan area to attend the summer camp.

Introduced as roommates on the first night of camp, Lori Lee Farmer, Michelle Guse, and Doris Denise Milner went to their tent, Kiowa tent # 8. Their tent was located at the outer edge of the wooded camp and isolated from the other tents. A last minute change left Tent # 8 one girl short (Wilkerson and Wilkerson 3).

As night fell upon the camp, counselors checked to make sure that the one hundred Girl Scouts were in their assigned tents. As counselors walked away from the Kiowa tents, they saw a dim light in the woods which then disappeared. The counselors thought the light in the woods was some sort of a prank and went to their tent.

At 2:00 a.m., counselors heard some Girl Scouts making noises and went to quieten the campers. Several Girl Scouts told them that a man looked into their tents and then walked away. Others said they heard someone outside their tent. Another Girl Scout heard a girl screaming "Momma! Momma!" at 2:00 a.m. (W & W 9). Also, girls said a man grabbed them as they walked toward the bathroom. One girl became hysterical in the woods when she thought she saw a man (W &W 10). The counselors told the Girl Scouts to go to sleep, and went back to their own tent. They didn't look around for the strange man that several of the Girl Scouts had told them about.

At 6:00 a.m. on Tuesday, June 13, Carla Sue Wilhite, a counselor at Camp Scott, went to take an early shower. She walked on the trail and noticed some things under a large tree. As she got closer, she noticed some sleeping bags. Then, she saw Doris Denise Milner's nude body (W & W 10). At that time, Carla couldn't see the other two dead bodies. The other bodies were still zipped up in their sleeping bags and naked from the waist down (W & W 11).

At 6:30 a.m., Mayes County District Attorney Sidney Wise said all three of the small victims had died from blunt trauma to the back of the head and strangulation. All of the girls had lengths of cord around their necks and had been gagged and bound with two-inch wide black electrical tape. All of the victims had been sexually molested. Officers found their clothes a few feet from their bodies. The killer or killers carried the bodies approximately one hundred to one hundred and fifty yards from their tent and piled the young victims under a large tree (Allen - "Compassion").

At the scene, detectives found a large roll of black duct tape and a red and white nine-volt flashlight near the bodies (W & W 19). The lens of the flashlight was partially covered to allow only a mere pencil of light through. Inside the death tent, detectives found the bloody footprint of waffle-type jungle boots. It appeared too large to be one of the victim's prints. Large pools of blood were found near the beds of two of the girls. The other girl could have been strangled to death after being pulled from the tent (W & W 26).

Shortly after the discovery of the bodies of the Girl Scouts, Governor David Boren ordered a task force of Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation agents and highway troopers to assist the Mayes County authorities in the investigation. Govenor Boren also arranged the use of three bloodhounds from Pennsylvania to help track down the killer or killers of the three little Girl Scouts (Allen - "Officers").

Three days after the brutal slayings, the hunt for evidence moved less than a mile west of Camp Scott to the 110 acre ranch of 58 year old Jack Shroff. The hunt moved because the bloodhounds lead the lawmen to his home and pond. Lawmen searched for a murder weapon and other possible evidence. During the search, officers found a roll of black duct tape and rope. The evidence matched the items found on the three little Girl Scouts ("Owener of Farm"). Several rocks, a tire tool, and a crowbar were discovered at the ranch, but the items were not connected with the slayings. Detectives found a footprint that matched the print in the death tent at Camp Scott. Mr. Shroff submitted to a lie detector test and passed (Allen - "Dogs").

Camp director Barbara Day said she knew that the camp had received several threatening notes. The notes claimed that four little girls would be killed. Also, she said the camp had been burglarized several weeks before the camp opened, but she never considered the notes or the burglaries to be serious.

The task force polygraphed many suspects and all passed. Also, Ben Woodward, ranger and custodian at Camp Scott, was polygraphed. He passed (Allen- "Lawmen").

On June 24, local, county, and sate lawmen launched a massive air and ground search. Although lawmen would not say how they linked their investigation to the prime suspect, they looked for a convicted rapist, Gene LeRoy Hart (Kelley). Mayes County authorities charged Hart with three separate counts of first degree murder in connection with the brutal slayings of Lori Lee Farmer, Michelle Guse, and Doris Denise Milner.

Gene LeRoy Hart was convicted on October 14, 1966, on two counts of first degree rape and kidnapping. On March 16, 1969, Hart was paroled from Granite State Penitentiary. He was sent to McAlester State Penitentiary where he would serve forty to one hundred and forty years on a charge of rape, two counts of kidnapping, and two counts of burglary (W & W 60).

In 1973, Gene LeRoy Hart and two other prisoners hacksawed their way out of the Mayes County Jail. Lawmen found the other two prisoners, but Hart, a Locust Grove native, had remained free since the jail break. Even though he was a convicted rapist, no one looked for him. While at the Mayes County Jail, Hart had been awaiting a postconviction hearing (Kelley).

On June 24, 1977, Locust Grove natives spotted a man who resembled Hart running from a cave near where the three Girl Scouts had been slain. He was supposedly armed with a 20-gauge shotgun and a .22 caliber rifle. He had supposedly stolen these guns from Jack Shroff's farm (Allen - "Frightened").

At the cave, local, county, and state lawmen searched for Gene LeRoy Hart. The lawmen searching in the wooded area had thousands of ticks crawling on them. When they got inside the cave, lawmen found no ticks. The lawmen's theory was that Hart had used Indian medicine to ward them off (W & W 85). On a cave wall, lawmen found a written message. It said that the person who killed the Girl Scouts had been living in the cave since the murders. The person who wrote the message called the lawmen fools (86).