Camp Scott

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City/Town: Locust Grove
Location Class: Ghost Town
Year Built: 1920's
Year Abandoned: 1977
Status: EndangeredNational Register of Historic Places
Photojournalist: Cody CooperJustin Tyler MooreBilly DixonDavid LindeJohnny Fletcher

SPECIAL THANKS

First we want to give a huge thanks to Kevin Weaver over at GirlScoutMurders.com for giving us a personal tour and his help researching. Head over to his site to read EVERYTHING about the Camp Scott story.

BACKGROUND

The Oklahoma Girl Scout Murders is still to this day an unsolved crime in rural Mayes County, Oklahoma. On a rainy, late-spring night in 1977, three girls—ages 8, 9, and 10, were murdered and left in the woods near their tent at Camp Scott Girl Scout summer camp. Although Gene Leroy Hart, a local jail escapee with a history of violence stood trial for the crime, he was acquitted. Thirty years later authorities conducted new DNA testing, but the results of these proved inconclusive, as the samples were too old.Camp Scott Map

HISTORY

In 1977, Camp Scott was in its 49th year as a keystone of the Tulsa-based Magic Empire Girl Scout Council. Situated along the confluence of Snake Creek and Spring Creek near State Highway 82, the 410-acre compound is located between Locust Grove and Tahlequah, Oklahoma.

Gene Leroy Hart had escaped from prison four years prior to the murders, and had been convicted of raping two pregnant women previously. Hart was born about a mile from Camp Scott.

Less than two months before the murders, during an on-site training session, a camp counselor found her belongings ransacked, her doughnuts stolen, and inside the empty doughnut box was a disturbing hand-written note. The author vowed to murder three campers. Because summer camps are rife with ghost stories, the note was treated as a prank and discarded.

June 12, 1977 was the first day of camp. Around 6pm a thunderstorm hit, and the girls huddled in their tents. Among them were Lori Lee Farmer (8 yo), and Doris Denise Milner (10 yo), both native Tulsans, along with Michele Guse (9 yo) of Broken Arrow. The trio were sharing tent #7 in the “Kiowa” camping area.Kiowa Map

THE KILLINGS

The following morning, a counselor made the frightening discovery of three girls, found dead in their sleeping bags at a fork in the trail. Soon, it was discovered that all three girls in tent #7 had been bludgeoned, and strangled to death.

AFTERMATH

June 13th, 1977 was the last day that Camp Scott was open. After nearly 50 years of hosting Girl Scouts, Camp Scott closed it’s doors and never reopened.

Gene Leroy Hart, a Cherokee, was arrested 10 months later at the home of a Cherokee medicine man and later tried in March, 1979. Although the local sheriff pronounced himself “one thousand percent” certain Hart committed the crimes, a local jury acquitted him.

Two of the families later sued the Magic Empire Council and its insurer in a $5 million alleged negligence action. The civil trial included discussion of the threatening note as well as the fact that tent #7 lay 86-yards from the counselors’ tent. The defense suggested that the future of summer camping in general hung in the balance. In 1985, by a 9–3 vote, jurors sided with the camp.

By this time, Hart was already dead. As a convicted rapist and jail escapee, he still had 305 of his 308 years left to serve in the Oklahoma State Penitentiary. In June 1979, during a jog inside the jail, he collapsed and died of an apparent heart attack.

Richard Guse, the father of one of the victims, went on to help the state legislature pass the Oklahoma Victim’s Bill of Rights. Another parent, Sheri Farmer, went on to found the Oklahoma chapter of support group Parents of Murdered Children.

Great Hall

Kiowa Camp

Arts and Crafts

Choctaw Camp

Pool

Quapaw Camp

Red Barn

Seminole Camp

Miscellaneous

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Kelly
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Kelly

My parents told me this story when I was younger. I always thought it was something they made up. Definitely want to check this place out!

amanda
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amanda

great job guys! very respectful and well researched. i did a research paper in college about camp scott and gene hart. i wish that he just would have admitted his guilt and let the families of the young victims have the peace they deserve.

Shawn Volkmann
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Shawn Volkmann

Looking at the facts of this case, when studied for a bit it is kind of strange that one person could have pulled this off. Its my guess that there had to be a minimum of two perpetrators to make this possible. The boot print didn't belong to Hart. Now I am not trying to stand up for someone like him, but I don't think just one person could have done this. Hart would have written something more complex on the wall of the cave, more of an insult. Now I do have another person in mind that was in… Read more »

Thumper
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Thumper

Good job on this! Kevin has done a great job on his site, but another site people should check out is http://girlscoutmurders.yuku.com, where Kevin has contributed some interesting things. It has been dedicated to these murders for a few years now and several members there have been dedicated researchers of the case for many years before the site was opened.

Abby
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Abby

Good job guys! I grew up hearing about these murders and this place but never even knew the name of the camp, only that it was close to Locust Grove. I really enjoyed the pics.

Danielle
Guest

NEAT!!!! Very informative. Looks like an eerie place!

I really like the layout of this post. The maps are great. And the pictures being separated helps as well!

dondi
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dondi

I was a girlscout during this time…I remember it clearly! We were all afraid after this happened.

Tery
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Tery

Me too—after this we had dads go on our camping trips with us and they were armed with guns–they took turns watching over us through the night—-it seemed then that the time of childhood innocence was over.I was a girl scout from the Moore,OK area.

Dana
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Dana

My good friend Melody was there in tent 6 closest to tent 7 . She was scared her whole life over it

TulsaGal
Guest

Great post. I remember all of this very well. I turned 19 3 days after the murders (yes I'm OLD) and followed all of it closely. Fascinating photos.

Lazzaro
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Lazzaro

I found your site via either TulsaGal of TTM and recently signed up for your rss feed. It’ll take a while to get through the archives here but I will eventually.

I got to thinking about the Camp Scott murders two or three years ago and did a web search to refresh my memory. It was a surprise to see you feature it a few days ago. Those three girls are hard to forget. And should be.

Photos of derelict buildings and areas have long interested me and this is the Oklahoma motherload. Nice work.

devri
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devri

Is there any way of contacting the owner of the camp? My friends and I would like to walk through it. ( very respectfully that is) Would that at all be possible? Thanks! =)

TDoug
Guest
TDoug

Even in its derilict state, you can see Camp Scott was a pretty cool and fun place. Some of the pictures on this site have a creepy feel to them but, strangely, not these. It's almost as though the goodness and innocence that dwelled here still pervades over the horrendous act that closed it. It Hart did in fact commit these crimes, he not only destroyed the lives of three little girls (bad enough!) but he also ruined what could have been a great life experience for other little girls who would have gone to this camp. What a sorry… Read more »

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