By Alexandra Heilbron on May 18, 2022 | 1 comment
Kristin Chenoweth has revealed that she was a member of the Oklahoma Girl Scout squad who were on a camping trip in Oklahoma in 1977 when three of the girls were murdered. Kristin, who was nine at the time of the murders, was scheduled to go on the trip – but had to cancel at the last minute. She recalls, “I got sick and Mom said, ‘You can’t go.'”
“It haunts me every day,” says Chenoweth in the trailer for the Hulu miniseries Keepers of the Ashes: The Oklahoma Girl Scout Murders. She adds, “As a Girl Scout, I loved going to camp. The friendships I made were like my sisters. I never thought anything bad could happen. It has been with me my whole life: I could have been one of them.”
Chenoweth recently returned to her home state to host the series, which takes another look at the murders of Lori Lee Farmer, 8, Michele Heather Guse, 9, and Doris Denise Milner, 10, all from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma , where Chenoweth was born and raised.
Along with over 100 other campers, the three little girls arrived at Camp Scott on June 12, 1977 and were assigned to tent #8, the furthest from their handler’s tent. Each tent housed four girls, but the other girl assigned to tent #8 was late due to a scheduling conflict. That night there was a thunderstorm so all the campers went to their tents early. The three girls were found at 6am about 150 meters away on the path leading to the showers. Two of the girls – Farmer and Guse – had been beaten to death in the tent. Milner had been stabbed a few yards away. All three were sexually abused.
DNA testing wasn’t available in 1977, but there was plenty of evidence, including tape, string, and a flashlight with a fingerprint on the lens. A footprint was found inside the tent, and another of a different size was found outside. It then turned out that two months earlier a note had been left in a hut on the camp grounds. It read, “We’re on a mission to kill three girls in tent one,” signed The Killer. The camp manager thought it was a joke and gave it no further thought.
Police dogs found additional evidence in a cave two miles from the camp, including a flashlight battery, glasses believed to have come from the camp, and photographs of women linked to an escaped convict named Gene Leroy Hart.
Hart, who escaped from prison in 1973, had been serving time for burglary and kidnapping and raping two pregnant women. He was charged with the girls’ murders, but was acquitted by a jury after a trial. However, he was returned to prison to serve time for the other crimes and died of a heart attack on June 4, 1979.
Keepers of the Ashes: The Oklahoma Girl Scout Murders debuts May 24 on Hulu.
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