Camp Scott

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City/Town: Locust Grove
Location Class: Disappearing Town
Year Built: 1920's
Year Abandoned: 1977
Status: EndangeredNational Register of Historic Places Disappearing Town
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.




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Michelle
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Michelle

I was within 3 miles of the okc bombing…my family and friends who worked around the building were not hurt…but it shook our souls…when it comes to the injustices of terrible crimes…especially against children it makes my blood boil….these beautiful little girls went to camp…they wanted to play..have fun…enjoy nature and friends…to laugh and explore….someone…I believe more than one…took their lives, their future, their goals and dreams….and those who hide the truth or protect guilty parties are just as guilty…the reason I keep up with this and many other cases is because I believe someone knows something…and hope that these… Read more »

Jaramukhti
Guest
Jaramukhti

It's incredibly tragic that a place that held so many positive memories for so many people is now forever tainted. Looking at these pics gives me a sick feeling in my stomach — mostly because this should have been a place that conjured up great memories of childhood. Not an abandoned footnote for a horrific crime. The only solace is, it seems many Camp Scott scouts still have fond memories of a better time at this place. This is one of those horrors that makes you wish you could turn back the clock. I wish those alums could have this… Read more »

Dana Edmiston White
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Dana Edmiston White

I went to the camp as a young girl two times. I went in 1973, 1974 and 1975. My parents felt it was a good camp for me to attend, however I remember hating it and being terrified every time I went. Times were different back then and people were more trusting. However, I remember everything about this camp as if I was there yesterday and I always felt scared and as a young girl of 10 years old never felt like the camp counselors were close enough and I remember writing letters to my parents and calling them crying… Read more »

Joe
Guest
Joe

Dana you could be on to something. He escaped in '74 (I think) do you remember hearing the sounds in '73? I imagined he had all year to scout the camp but perhaps he was stealing food to live in the woods at night. Did you alert counselors of the footsteps you heard? Im guessing they told you it was just the wind though…

Teresa B
Guest
Teresa B

Isn't it interesting how so many Oklahomans recall this tragedy like we do so many others, the Murrah bombing, the steakhouse murders, so many sad terrible things, but this one seems especially awful because the victims were children at a camp where everyone would have thought they were safe. I was living in Norman, just graduated from high school, and was a morning runner. I had gone out for a run the morning the little girls were discovered and my mother was waiting for me at the end of our driveway when I returned from my run and hugged me… Read more »

Eric
Guest
Eric

I wish this website would NOT use a black background with white text. It is awful to try and read.

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[…] Camp Scott Abandoned Summer Camp Photos […]

Sonja Schneider
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Sonja Schneider

I was 15 when the murders happened. I had been a camper for 4 years there before.i remember the morning clearly, my mom who was a Girl Scout Leader and I were in the car together and heard it on the radio. I remember us just looking at each other in pure shock. We had stayed in Kiowa as a troop before, practiced backpacking all over the place and the two previous years I stayed there for primitive camp. On those two years we weren't even in the safe bounds of the camp, one on Lake Hudson and the other… Read more »

AbandonedAR Team
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AbandonedAR Team

Despite all of chaplains and Keaton's differences they made audiences laugh for generations and still make people laugh today. I especially loved the film of chaplains entitled a dogs life. That's probably one of my favorites of his. Just watching him make a fool of himself while dodging the cops and trying to win the girl over. I feel like I see a lot of similar companies these days, but there's still something simply amazing about chaplains ability to still make audiences laugh today. Most people look at old films and think that they are going to be bored watching… Read more »

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[…] camp was swiftly evacuated, and understandably, never re-opened[5]. (See recent photos of the abandoned site […]

P. Scott
Guest
P. Scott

Camp Scott will hold precious memories for me. Always loved going there. So true that the 3 little girls should never be forgotten but such a hortible crime could have happened anywhere. The camp grounds should not be blamed for this. The only one to blame is the person who did this. I will always remember the camp as a joyful time in my life along with a huge sadness for those 3 precious little girls. when my younger dtr was in Girl Scouts she never went to the new camp because when checking out the grounds it seemed so… Read more »

court
Guest
court

Why do you have so many towns listed as ghost towns? Locust Grove is not one for sure. I grew up there. My parents live there. It's a small town, ok, but not ghost town. Walmart just went in. Dollar store, sonic, holiday inn, 3 gas stations several restaurants, laundry mat, he'll of a football team, mason fine…hell of a player. This is much bigger town than when I grew up there, but definitely NOT ghost town. The girl scout thing however sad it may be…there's a ton of made up stories. That's what we did at weekend bonus fires.… Read more »

tony123
Guest
tony123

Go check out the town of Picher,Oklahoma

robbie
Guest
robbie

I don't think a lot of ppl get that it's not Camp Scott anymore, not owned by the Scouts. Therefore "they" can't reopen it.

Sharon Hughes
Guest
Sharon Hughes

To Jolie Farmer, I went to Camp Scott in 1967-68 and when I was there I was in the tent next to the one your sister was in called Quapaw, I of course didn't know your sister or the other two girls because they had gone to Camp Scott after I did,but when the murders occurred there and so close to the time I was there,I all but freaked out,just because that could have been me years earlier. I am so sorry for you loss, I was wondering if you have ever thought of getting the case opened back up… Read more »

blueheroncommunications
Guest
blueheroncommunications

The case is not closed, nor solved. The OSBI still considers it open, although no progress has been made. About 10 years ago, biological samples were submitted to DNA testing, but no conclusive results. A private donor just donated the funds to have the samples collected at the scene re-analyzed. Hopefully advancements in the DNA testing technology will provide some answers.

Cristina
Guest
Cristina

People ask why the camp has not reopened. The parents of the girls sued the Girl Scout Council for 5 million dollars each for the deaths of their daughters. That is probably one of the reasons for a delay in a possible reopening and the final decision was probably also the fear of copy cats since there was an issue at a Kansas Girl Scout Camp shortly after the Camp Scott murders. The old newspaper articles can give you some insight….even the smallest archived article.

Liz Troop 157
Guest
Liz Troop 157

The suit was thrown out and the camp was sold in the 80's.

Lori
Guest
Lori

Whomever bought the camp also tried unsuccessfully to reopen it at one time.

Lori Whiteday
Guest
Lori Whiteday

Do you have links or information RE: Kansas Girl Scout Camp issues?

j.taylor
Guest
j.taylor

Does anyone know who owns camp scott now?

Liz Troop 157
Guest
Liz Troop 157

Yes, the owner's name and number are on a sign at the edge of the property, or at least they were.

Wolfy
Guest
Wolfy

No. The owner who put up the sign died in 2015 and the new owner is a prick about letting people explore this piece of history.

Pablo
Guest

A different kind of camping experience…
http://www.adirondackcabinplans.com/hiking-campin

PegD123
Guest
PegD123

I was an Empire Girl Scout from Tulsa in the 1980's after this horrific tragedy. Thankfully, none of us as children were ever aware anything like this happened in any camp or to any Girl Scouts, or it would have ruined the experience of those fun times. I have the most amazing memories of camp, so please know that the love of camping for Girl Scouts did carry on in a new location after this incident. There are so many pieces of this case that are just bizarre and it does seem sad that they didn't have our methods of… Read more »

Shaun
Guest
Shaun

Does anyone know if the sites pictured still exist today ?? I went in search of them today, but could not find the old campsite. I did find Camp Garland. Any help would be appreciated. I was at New Life Ranch the Summer of 1977 & remember how it shook everyone up there.

Gene
Guest
Gene

Shaun:
A lot of the fixtures are still there, although altered through the ages. Since the land was sold and has been in private hands for years, there are no trespassing signs everywhere. The pool, great house, red barn, etc are still clearly intact, but aged.
You can locate the entrance to the camp with a little sleuthing, but for the privacy of the owners, I suggest you go no further, if that far.

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Joli Farmer
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Joli Farmer

I am Lori's sister. It is interesting to read all these comments. While many of the things posted here are not true, I am deeply touched by the overriding theme….that you all remember my sister and the two other girls, that after all these years your hearts are still tender toward the victims and their families, and that your lives were also changed in some way on that fateful June night. I have never seen this website before. It amazes me that people are still so intrigued by this case. Why is that?

Karin Thomas
Guest
Karin Thomas

Joli, i was a teenager working at a girl scout camp in michigan when this horrific event happened. I remember exactly when a meeting was called and we were told of this and shock and tears is what i remember. That night we had to go to our units and sleep in the same type of tents. Camp was forever changed. The serenity of camp became flood lights and regular patrols, fearful of copycat crimes. Our hearts and souls went out to the families and we grieved along with you for the loss of the girls. This stays with me… Read more »

Joli Farmer
Guest
Joli Farmer

Karin, thank you for sharing that with me. It is interesting to me that you were so impacted by this event all the way in Michigan. I appreciate your kind words and thank you for remembering the girls after all these years.

Archer
Guest
Archer

Jolie: At the time of the murders, I was living in Muskogee and now live in Broken Arrow where the Guse's live. The reasons I am still interested and grieving with you at the loss, is that all three girls were all so beautiful and it bothers me that any person or persons could be so wicked as to do this kind of thing. I also shudder because my interpretation of the facts would have me believe that more than one person would have to have been involved that night and even if Hart were guilty, there is at least… Read more »

Dawn Byrum
Guest
Dawn Byrum

Joli, I stay connected to the case because 3 beautiful young girls lost their lives to a senseless crime. Who knows what those girls could have became! They came from loving families and the public who remember look at those faces fell in love with them too! I was only 4 when this happened…and I am 40 now…I hope there will be an answer to who killed these innocent girls some day! They and their families need justice and the killer(s) need to be punished!! I have a 12 year old daughter and I couldn't imagine what it would be… Read more »

Joli Farmer
Guest
Joli Farmer

Thank you Dawn!

Joe
Guest
Joe

In my humble opinion, Crying Wolf helped deliver justice by making sure the guilty party would suffer death. It was no coincidence that on June 4th with thunder overhead, Gene died of a MASSIVE heart attack.

shelia cooper
Guest
shelia cooper

Joli, I'll try to word this just right. When all this happened in 1977, I had children Lori's age and a little bit older. I lived in a community, just across the lake from camp Scott. The name was Lake Crest. I was friends with some who lived in Locust Grove. The news traveled fast.Of course this scared us to know there was a killer amoung us.When Peter Weaver asked for volunteers to look for Hart, I went to Sam's corner to volunteer. Some of us especially the women left the search because we were told we could not arm… Read more »

Joli Farmer
Guest
Joli Farmer

Thank you for sharing that Shelia. I may contact you some day to hear more. I appreciate your kindness.

breechica28
Guest
breechica28

iam part of the Girl Scouts of western Oklahoma , I ve been in Girl Scouts for about 7 or 8 years and this story defistated me , joli I'm so sorry for your loss and I can't imagine how horrible it must have been to find out your sister was brutally murderd at camp . I'm in awe of your bravery . keep on living your life and may your sister rest in peace

Laura Smith
Guest
Laura Smith

Dear Joli Farmer, my deepest condolences for you & your family. Being that I was born & raised in northeast Oklahoma, this tragedy has always been like an open wound that has never healed. In 1977 I myself would have only been 7 but still have vivid memories of my family talking about for years after. I also think the reason people are still intrigued by this case is because it really has no closure.

Cindy Hicks
Guest
Cindy Hicks

I was set to go to Camp Scott with the next group. I was scared and I have seen the toll it took on a certain family in Broken Arrow due to the lose of their daughter

Margee Lavoie
Guest
Margee Lavoie

Hi Joli – I am still tied to this case, because I was at that camp that night. It has haunted me since the night it happened. I also knew Lori Lee. She was in my 3rd grade class at Jenks, and I still have our class picture. Knowing her made the whole thing even more frightening to me as a child. I was unable to stay alone in my house from that point until I was about 15. This is a case that will probably stay with me until I die.

Mae
Guest
Mae

I was in college when all this took place; just 19 years old. I wasn't as well read about current events at that time. (even though this was national news) I saw something the other day in the media about this horrific event and decided to read the article. I live in a neighboring small town and have been in that area many times without realizing the history of what took place there. It brought sadness when I realized what had transpired. I have granddaughters now and cannot even fathom something of this magnitude happening to them or any other… Read more »

John David Pitcher Jr
Guest

I was a phlebotomist at St John's and saw the agony of you father at the time of the horrible event. My grandfather's sister and husband, Florence and Harry Scott had donated the land for the camp and others. My sisters had gone to camp there. As a physician now I still remember the event and the effect it had. I hope the kindness that I show each day reflect love for others.

Nathanael
Guest
Nathanael

Ma'am I dated a woman named Brandy Michelle Halsted. Now Brandy Michelle Leach. I have reason to believe Brandy's UNCLE JIM CAVALIER OR HER UNCLE JOHN COMMITTED THESE CRIMES. THEY LIVE AT THE CAVALIER RANCH ONE PROPERTY North of the camp. Gary Hart was sleeping with the Sheriff's wife so they blamed him. Even if Hart was guilty he had an accomplice. The 2 OSBI agents are making tins of money off of this tragedy from their books. So much money they opened their own movie production company , Barrister Studios. Brandy Michelle Halsted was raped and molested by her… Read more »

Tiger
Guest
Tiger

Nathanael Its Tiger. email me.

nightywolfy123@gmail.com

Trev62
Guest
Trev62
San
Guest
San

Joli , I was a young mom of three daughters at the time this happened,I can't even find the words for this act of violence against these innocent children. I couldn't imagine the pain and suffering the families were going through,but I knew if, I lost even one of my daughters this way it would be something I might not recover from. Even though I didn't know these little girls,as a mother for the victims and their family my heart broke ,as did many others and it sent a new and frightening view of how dangerous the outside world could… Read more »

Kim
Guest
Kim

Joli I didn't know that Lari had a sister. I only new of her brother. The hole thing really bothers me still. Because the winter before my troop went to the very unit and stayed in the same exact tent your sister was taken to early from this world. I am so sorry that happened. I met your father one night when I was in the ER at St. Johns and told him the story that happened to me one night to the four other girls and myself. And our troop leader didn't believe us. I have wondered many times… Read more »

Valerie
Guest
Valerie

I am reading up on this case Kim and I would really like to know what happened to you.

Angela
Guest
Angela

Kim, can you please share what happened to you and the four other girls?

Ryan Braschler
Guest
Ryan Braschler

Hi Joli,

I'm a reporter with Channel 8 in Tulsa. I'm pursuing a story on what happened in 1977 and the nearly 40 years since. I hope this message finds you well. I'd like to sit down and talk with you, if you'll give me a chance. Please email me at rabraschler@sbgtv.com and we can exchange numbers, if you would like to.

Thanks,
Ryan Braschler
Reporter – KTUL
rabraschler@sbgtv.com

sam wilkerson
Guest
sam wilkerson

Because it broke our hearts at the time, and it still does.

Taylor
Guest
Taylor

Joli, I'm a student studying criminal justice and cold cases. In my free time I often find myself spending hours researching cold cases and other cases involving terrible incidents and horrifying situations. I had a peaked interest in the case of your sister and the other two young girls. As being 1/2 Native American (Cherokee specifically) the involvement of Gene Leroy Hart intrigued me. I have personally been to the camp site. Being a born and raised Urbexer (Urban Exploration, if you aren't farmiliar), I found myself and a few friends taking a road trip down to Oklahoma to see… Read more »

Trev62
Guest
Trev62

https://youtu.be/GWRKbOL7lhI
Tell me she looks guilty here’s the answer or rather at least half of it I’m willing to bet

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