The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

December 30, 2009

More than 100 people attend vigil for missing girls

By Krista Duhon

news@joplinglobe.com

VINITA, Okla. — Ten years after their daughter and her best friend disappeared from a rural Welch residence, Lorene and Jay Bible leaned on the simple pine altar of Vinita’s First Church of God and said they will be vigilant in their efforts to bring their daughter home.

“I said a decade ago that I did not want to be standing here in 10 years,” Lorene Bible said. “I did not want to be a mother who suffered for 10 years.”

She said she will continue to use all the resources available to her to keep her daughter’s name in the media and will pray that someday Lauria Bible — who would now be 26 years old — will be found.

Lauria Bible and Ashley Freeman were last seen a decade ago. They celebrated Freeman’s 16th birthday together at the Freeman residence in rural Craig County. It was on that night, Dec. 30, 1999, that Freeman’s parents were shot to death and their home was torched.

Authorities believe the girls were abducted and most likely killed.

On Wednesday night, more than 100 friends and family members gathered at the church in Vinita for a prayer vigil to remember the girls.

“If Lauria is dead, let that be my burden. I will deal with that,” Lorene Bible said. “But, I will bring her home — even if she is passed on.”

The Bibles said they find peace through their faith in God, and that his sustaining hand has guided them even when it seemed they did not have the strength to put one foot in front of the other.

Their faith also has helped them to move forward, Jay Bible said.

“One day, we will know what happened to our daughter,” he said.

His words echoed the sentiments of his brother-in-law, the Rev. Lindey Leforce, who spoke briefly at the vigil.

“There are a lot of questions about if the girls are dead or alive, but there is one thing that is certain,” Leforce said. “Either God is with them and they are alive, or they are with God. Either way, God is part of it.”

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