Did the killer or killers of three Tulsa-area Girl Scouts in June 1977 actually announce the crimes two months before they were committed?
Michelle Hoffman, who was an aide at the June 1977 camp session, has the full story behind a mysterious note that some believe indicates as much.
It happened earlier in April 1977, when Hoffman was at Camp Scott for a special Girl Scout cadet weekend. While there, she said, someone got into her and her campmates’ tent when they were away.
They left a mess behind.
"Our bags had been scattered all over the tent and some outside," Hoffman said.
Whoever did it also emptied a box of doughnuts Hoffman had brought from home.
Among the crumbs inside, she found a note.
"There were four or five leafs from a tiny steno notebook," Hoffman said. On the first two or three pages, written over and over again, was the word "kill."
But it was what else was written on one of the pages that would give the note an ominous significance later:
"We're on a mission to kill three girls."
Hoffman said she took the note to the camp director, who said she would check into it.
Later, she learned that another group of girls at camp that weekend "had confessed to doing it," she said, adding the note was thrown away.
More than a year later, the note would be brought up during Gene Leroy Hart's preliminary hearing, for which Hoffman gave a deposition.
It was not mentioned in the trial. But years later, it was part of the civil case, among evidence cited in trying to prove the Girl Scouts should have been alert in advance to possible danger.
Could the note have had any connection to the events that followed?
Hoffman shrugs, shakes her head: "I honestly don't know."
If it was a prank, "it was a pretty extreme measure," she added. "And the paper the note was written on was dirty and worn as if it had been carried around in someone's pocket for several weeks.
"It's just hard to know."