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No significant findings in search for Welch girls

Posted at 5:42 PM, Jul 31, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-31 18:42:05-04

PICHER, Okla. -- No significant findings came out of the two day extensive search the two Welch girls, Ashley Freeman and Lauria Bible, who officials believe were kidnapped nearly 20 years ago.

Officials with the Cherokee Nation Marshal Service used sonar to detect any safety hazards or potential findings, before sending in Tulsa police divers to comb through the shallow water.

"The other things I was really looking for were something you could tie something onto and sink, objects like large stones, bricks, cinder blocks and those kind of things, I wish I found those things," said Sgt. Justin Farley, with the Tulsa police dive team.

Investigators searched the bodies of water in Picher because they're near Phil Welch's property. He was one of the suspects in the case who died back in 2007.

While nothing was found, they're not giving up on finding the girls.

"This is by no means to anywhere close to being the end results, this is just one phase of the search to say look we’ve been there, we’ve done that, and now we’re going to move forward," said Gary Stansill, Lead Investigator for the District Attorney.

Investigators say they aren't ready to release the next location they plan to search, to avoid compromising any leads.

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