In the late spring of 1977, a young counselor who had arrived for a training session at Girl Scout Camp Scott in Mayes County, Oklahoma, noticed that some of her things had been stolen. When she opened a now-empty box of doughnuts, she found a threatening note, pledging to murder three campers that summer.
The administrator of the camp thought the note was just a harmless prank, and they threw it away.
A Mayes County native, Gene Leroy Hart, had escaped from prison five years before, and he still remained at large. He had been convicted of kidnapping and raping two pregnant women, along with a handful of burglary charges. Hart had grown up just a mile from Camp Scott.
One week before the camp opened, a rancher reported that his house had been burgled. It was later concluded that some of the stolen items were used in the murders.
The Girl Scout summer camp opened for its 49th season on June 13, 1977. A huge thunderstorm shook Mayes County early that morning. The young campers huddled in their tents. Lori Lee Farmer, 8, Michele Guse, 9, and Doris Denise Milner, 10 were together in Tent 8 in the 'Kiowa' unit.
That morning, Counselor Carla Willhite found the bodies of all three girls, severely beaten and abandoned on a trail. The three children had been raped and strangled.
Some of the stolen items were found in a nearby cave, and Hart was named prime suspect in the case. Hart went to trial in 1979, and although the sheriff said he was "one thousand percent" positive Hart was guilty, the jury let him go because there was insubstantial evidence against him.
Hart went to prison anyway for a previous sentence, and additional time for his 1973 escape. Two months later, he was dead.
Evidence has been re-tested in the years following the crime, but as the samples deteriorate with age, it is unlikely another suspect will ever be identified.
Camp Scott remains closed to this day. The case — one of the most brutal in Oklahoma history — is still open and unsolved.
What do you think happened in the Oklahoma Girl Scout murder mystery?
Sources: Abandoned OK, Blumhouse