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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court
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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
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tony123

Go check out the town of Picher,Oklahoma

P. Scott
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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 »

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

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 Scott Abandoned Summer Camp Photos […]

Eric
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Eric

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

Teresa B
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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 »

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
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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…

Jaramukhti
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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 »

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 »

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