Real Names: Daniel and Katherine Freeman
Nicknames: Danny and Kathy
Location: Vinita, Oklahoma
Date: December 29, 1999
Details: On December 29, 1999, Danny and Kathy Freeman celebrated their daughter Ashley's sixteenth birthday with her best friend, Lauria Bible, who spent the night. Sometime during the night or early morning hours of December 30, 1999, a fire erupted inside of the Freemans' mobile home. A concerned neighbor called the Fire Department at 5:30AM on the morning of December 30, 1999. Lauria's parents and the police immediately canvassed the mobile home for signs of the Freeman family and Lauria Bible. Kathy Freeman was found dead, but her husband Danny Freeman's body and the two girls' bodies were nowhere to be found. An autopsy determined that Kathy had been shot to death. Arson investigators determined that the fire had been deliberately set.
Police theorized that Danny Freeman killed his wife Kathy and abducted his daughter Ashley and her friend Lauria Bible. The next day, Lauria's parents went to the burned out remains of the home, hoping to find a clue. After just five minutes, they were shocked to discover something that investigators had missed: another body, burned almost beyond recognition. The body was identified as Danny Freeman; he had also been shot to death at close range with a shotgun.
Ashley and Lauria weren't among Danny Freeman's remains, nor were they anywhere in the vicinity. However, another search of the property turned up an important clue: Lauria's purse, which was left behind with her driver's license and $200 inside. This suggested that the girls might have been abducted. It also led police to rule out robbery as a motive since the money was left behind.
There were no suspects in the case, but three months before his death, Danny had told his brother Dwayne Vancil that should anything happen to him, to look into the Craig County Sheriff's Department. The alleged feud between the department and the Freemans began when Danny's son, Shane, was shot and killed by a deputy after he stole a truck and a neighbor's gun. Although the shooting was ruled justifiable, Danny was planning to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the department just before the tragic fire. The sheriff's deputies volunteered to remove themselves from the investigation and turn the matter over to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. The deputies cooperated and passed polygraph tests. The Sheriff's Office was later ruled out as being involved in the case.
Another theory speculated that Danny Freeman was a small-time drug trafficker. According to an informant, Danny had met with two unidentified men two weeks before the murder. One of the men was apparently not welcome there. However, that theory did not fit well with the girls' disappearance. It would seem unlikely that the killers would abduct the girls instead of just kill them at the scene.
Others believed Ashley Freeman killed her parents because of friction between her and her father, but authorities believed that the girls couldn't have hidden out for long if that theory was to be believed. Lauria's family also does not believe that either girl would be capable of murder.
No trace of Lauria Bible or Ashley Freeman has ever been found. The murders of Danny and Kathy Freeman remain unsolved. There is a $50,000 reward offered in the case.
Suspects: The Vinita police were investigated but cleared of any involvement in the case. The drug dealing theory has not been ruled out, but seems unlikely. The one of Ashley murdering her parents and fleeing with Lauria has not been ruled out either.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the July 3, 2001 episode.p
Results: Unsolved. Death row inmate Jeremy Jones later confessed to killing the Freemans, then abducting and killing the girls before dumping their bodies in an abandoned Kansas mine. However, he later recanted and claimed that he had made up the story for better privileges in prison. Police are investigating him, considering him still a suspect in the case, but he has not been charged. Sadly, no trace of Ashley or Lauria was ever found
- Danny and Kathy Freeman on Unsolved.com
- Court uphold death sentence for murderer, Jeremy Jones
- Danny Freeman at Find a Grave