Search for Oklahoma girls remains circling back to early tip

JOPLIN, Mo. (AP) — Investigators are re-examining a tip from 19 years ago in the case of two abducted Oklahoma teenagers who are presumed dead.

New questions were raised after Ed Keheley, a Picher Mining Field expert assisting authorities, recently found an old article in the Joplin Globe about an anonymous caller, the newspaper reported .

The late George Hicks, the anonymous caller and former Vinita, Oklahoma police chief, told investigators on Jan. 4, 2000, that 16-year-olds Ashley Freeman and Lauria Bible were killed and their bodies were dumped in a mine shaft near Picher in northeast Oklahoma, along the Missouri border. One of the three initial suspects lived in Picher.

The tip about the alleged location of the bodies in the mine shaft came in less than a week after the slayings of Danny and Kathy Freeman, the burning of their mobile home near Welch, Oklahoma, and the abduction of their daughter Ashley and her friend Lauria.

FBI agents investigated a single shaft using an underwater camera, but no evidence turned up at the time. Gary Stansill, a cold case investigator with Oklahoma's district attorney's office, and Tammy Ferrari, a special agent with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, are now questioning whether details from the initial report were correctly interpreted.

Stansill found an FBI lead sheet that records the event. "It just says they looked down a mine shaft, but the camera broke," Stansill said. "We don't know if the (shaft) they searched back then is the one (the caller) referred to in the tip."

Stansill and Ferrari said information they have turned up in recent years have helped them identify three prime suspects, including one man who is jailed awaiting a murder trial in a separate case.

Keheley said there is more than one open mine shaft on the land north of the church. There were several shafts and two old mine leases there. Determining which shaft was investigated and to what extent seems vital to investigators today.


Oklahoma City police shoot man, nearby school closed for day

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma City police say officers shot an armed man who was wearing a bullet-proof vest.

Capt. Bo Mathews says 30-year-old Cody Alan Longstreet was shot about 4:30 a.m. Thursday and is expected to recover.

Mathews says officers fired after Longstreet bailed out of a stolen car they were trying to pull over and then ran while holding a gun. Officers first shot Longstreet with a stun gun. When he turned toward them still holding a gun, Sgt. Joshua Castlebury and Officer Troy Nitzky then fired their guns.

Police don't know why Longstreet was wearing the bullet-proof vest. The bomb squad investigated after he dropped a gun bag holding a rifle. Matthews said no explosives were found.

The shooting happened outside an elementary school that was later closed for the day. Mathews said Longstreet did not target the school.


McConnell to soon receive first KC-46 refueling tanker

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita could receive its first KC-46 air refueling tanker later this month.

Boeing announced on Thursday that the Air Force has accepted the aircraft and signed the paperwork allowing deliveries to proceed. The tanker uses the Boeing 767 passenger airplane as its airframe.

The company says McConnell will receive the first four aircraft, all of which are ready for delivery. The next four aircraft are slated for Altus Air Force Base in Oklahoma.

The long-awaited tankers replace KC-135 air refueling tankers used by McConnell's two air refueling wings, the 22nd and 931st Air Refueling Wings. Eventually, McConnell will have 36 KC-46s to replace its aging fleet.

Kansas Sens. Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran said that they were pleased the planes were finally coming to McConnell.


Oklahoma woman's life sentence upheld for death of boyfriend

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals has upheld the life prison sentence of a 40-year-old woman convicted of stabbing her boyfriend to death and running over him with a vehicle.

The appeals court handed down the ruling Thursday to Sharon Frances Morris of Collinsville, who was found guilty by a Tulsa County jury of first-degree murder for the May 23, 2016, death of 52-year-old Brian Floyd.

Police found Floyd's body in his driveway and determined he was repeatedly stabbed, his throat was cut and he had been run over twice.

Defense attorneys claimed Morris acted in self-defense, but investigators said her injuries appeared to be self-inflicted.

Among other things, Morris claimed she didn't receive a fair trial. Her attorney, Nicole Herron, didn't immediately return a telephone call seeking comment.