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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LethlDsage
Guest
LethlDsage

I stayed at Camp Scott many times. At least once or twice on Spring weekend campouts as the “little sister” of a Scout and daughter of a chaperone; three or four times as a young Scout for Spring and fall campouts; and for three two-week summer camping sessions. I loved all the adventures I had at Camp Scott along with the “Vanilla” and “Chocolate” swim sessions in the pool, the camp tables and tripod stools we learned how to lash together, how to gather wood and quickly build hot campfires and the arts and crafts I experienced which were usually… Read more »

sunshinehawaii
Guest
sunshinehawaii

Do you ever wonder if the murderer has returned to this location? Dang do you think he's ever read about himself on this site?

Jenna Joon
Guest
Jenna Joon

The murderer died in prison in ’79.

trackback

[…] Abandoned OK – Camp Scott […]

trackback

[…] For 49 years, Camp Scott was the site of happy faces, laughter, and a lot of joy, but all of that changed on June 12, 1977 when three young campers were brutally murdered in their cabin their first night there.  A counselor found their bodies packed in their sleeping bags early the next morning.  And that’s when Camp Scott itself died, too.  The murders were so horrific and terrifying that the camp closed that sad day and never reopened.  It’s now in private hands, but you can check out photos of the site at Abandoned Oklahoma. […]

Charles
Guest
Charles

This case has always haunted me. My girls are grown now but when my youngest was little I was a brownie troop leader. I was a single father raising my kids, my daughter wanted to be in Girl Scouts and the troop at her school had no leader. Anyway I did and she was and went to camp for years, her sister did not. When my girls grew up my oldest daughter had severe problems and I ended up raising her daughter. She was in Girls Scouts. She went to camp every year. She was sexually assaulted at a young… Read more »

Sydney Stoever
Guest
Sydney Stoever

I am from Tulsa, Oklahoma, but I am very familiar with the incident at Camp Scott and was taught about it at a young age. My mom was actually a member of the same troop as the three girls that were murdered. My mom was supposed to be on that camping trip, but she had gotten sick right before and was unable to go. I'm very thankful that my mom wasn't able to go on that camping trip, and I know she is as well. It has still, however, caused her to be terrified of tent camping, to the point… Read more »

Billie Erickson
Guest

I actually remember reading about a little girl who was supposed to go to camp and she fell ill and wasn’t able to attend. As a result of this tragedy I wasn’t allowed to go to GS summer camp, I didn’t know about the murders then. I jhst remember mentioning my desire to attend camp and my mother’s face just like she would faint dead away, and I was informed I would not be attending camp! I am from Oklahoma by the way!

Allison
Guest
Allison

I'm involved in a paranormal investigation group. Is there someone I can contact in regards to going out to the property to investigate?

trackback

[…] First, nearly two months before camp began, one counselor who was present for a training session found her belongings had been vandalized and some food had been stolen. Within a now-empty doughnut box she found a handwritten note. The note claimed the writer would murder three campers. Thinking it was a prank, the camp director ignored it. […]

Glen McDonald
Guest
Glen McDonald
Paul
Guest
Paul

Hi everybody. I discovered what happened in camp Scott recently, and I'm very impressed about it. However, the reason I write this is other. As many here, I think camp Scott should be opened despite the murders: if each place where somebody dies would be closed, almost all hotels and ocean liners, etc, would be abandoned. But I'd like to tell you the main reason. I'm from Spain, and I'm writing to say that the most FRIGHTENING, HORRIFYING AND INCREDIBLE tragedy never happened in a summer camp was here, in Spain. In July 11th, 1978, a year and a month… Read more »

Frank
Guest
Frank

THESE KIDS WERE MURDERED! They did not just die. I would be scared to death too stay in such a place if I was a 10 year old or there about far from home in a place where such a thing happened. I for one would not reopen the camp. There are a lot of places in that area that could work as a scout camp.

Alex
Guest
Alex

Hey I came out to the old camp Scott property but couldn't find building like the great hall or anything like that… while walking down by the creek there was a ridge and my co-adventurers thought it all might be up there but didn't have a change to go look because it was dark.. does anyone know if all those buildings are low by the creek or up off the ridge?

Keriann
Guest

I don’t think it looks scary and it would be a fun camp only f the girls didn’t die there

J Cole
Guest
J Cole

I lived in Chouteau, OK (not far from Locust Grove) as a child and remember the area well. After graduating high school, I lived in a Dallas, TX suburb – married with two daughter both of whom were Girl Scouts and I was troop leader for both. When my troops went camping – it was troop camping only. I had a large troop of 21 girls, an associate leader and a first aider – both had girls in my troop. Our troop camping consisted of a weekend in the fall and spring in fully enclosed buildings I never took them… Read more »

Lara Kalen
Guest
Lara Kalen

How wonderful and rewarding your scouting years sound with your daughters.

I am so sorry about the loss of your daughter and 2 grand children. May they remember your love as they are looking down from the heavens at you!

Elizabeth
Guest
Elizabeth

The best site for information on this is http://www.girlscoutmurders.com/
I know they recommend this site but it irritates me in a way because the camp was not abandoned. It was sold and has an owner and people still live there, at least they did last time I researched it. Someone Cry for the Children is a good book, but Tent Number 8 is not.

KimPEMA
Guest
KimPEMA

When we went to camp we always took the furthest tent.. There is nothing unusual about that.. We have spent more than a month at this point going over the pre-trial testimony and WOW! The police did NOT do a proper job.. Those poor babies need justice! I remember when this happened even though I was in another state.. My last name was also Farmer, (no relation that I know of).. Almost sickening that it is still not solved.. We are looking into finding someone who may be able to reopen this and get it done properly

trackback

[…] all I found were stories about the three Girl Scouts from Oklahoma who were murdered that year at Camp Scott. And, who could forget? Doris was 10. Michelle was nine. Lori was […]

Renee Cypert
Guest
Renee Cypert

Joli, I went to that camp 5 years before your sister was murdered there. I'm originally from Tulsa, and I don't remember how many times my Girl Scout troop went camping there, but I had so much fun there! It was so shocking and so horrifying about the murders. The fact that it is still unsolved only adds mystery. Bless you!

your life develop
Guest

Excellent

Mike
Guest
Mike

This may be explained somewhere on the site or in these comments, but I read that the camp was abandoned in 1977, yet there are pictures of a rack for cigarettes with prices that are very much from the 2000s?

LaGena
Guest
LaGena

The land which the camp was on was bought by one of my friends & her husband & was reopened the pool & concession area in the late 90's & later closing it in the the early too mid 2000's.

Katie
Guest
Katie

I know that all the accounts of the discovery of the bodies state that camp counselor Carla Wilhite found them on her way to the showers. However, if the map shown at the top of this page is accurate, that is either impossible or at least HIGHLY unlikely. The counselors' tent is shown on THIS map right next to a building labeled as housing the shower facilities. Even the most cursory glance at the map quickly shows, therefore, that Counselor Wilhite would have had to CROSS the camp all the way over to the area of the murdered girls' tent… Read more »

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