In 1977, three girls were pulled from their tents near Locust Grove, bludgeoned, strangled and sexually assaulted, then left on a trail, two buried in their sleeping bags and the third left partially clothed nearby. The victims were Lori Lee Farmer, 8, Denise Miller, 10, and Michele Guse, 9. They were Girl Scouts, camping at Camp Scott.
The murders were never solved, but the father of Michele Guse, Richard Guse, spent the rest of his life making sure his daughter’s death didn’t end up being for nothing. In 1981, when the family was interviewed by former Muskogee Phoenix reporter Betty Smith, the impact became clear.
“They still kept Michele’s room exactly as it was the day she left for camp,” Smith, whose last name is now Ridge, said yesterday, “complete with her Girl Scout calendar marked ‘leave for camp today.'”
Dick Guse served as the first chairman of the Oklahoma Victims’ Compensation Committee afterward, and later, he was recognized for serving on that board for 22 years, from its inception in 1981 to 2003, tirelessly working to make sure no other family members had to go through what he did, from finding out via television that his daughter had been murdered, to struggling with getting her body back for a funeral.
Guse died last Saturday, Feb. 3, at age 83. Services for him will be held at the Fort Gibson National Cemetery on Thursday, Feb. 8, at 2 p.m.
You can read his obituary here.