Leon Camp grew angry at God after his wife, her 6-year-old daughter and his little sister went missing in 1992.
“I couldn't understand any of it,” he said. “I got mad at God. I just quit going to church. I almost gave up.
“I couldn't understand why God had let this happen.”
His wife, Wendy Camp, 23, left their Oklahoma City home to visit her son on May 29, 1992. The boy was then 4 and lived with his father, Chad Noe, in Shamrock.
Going with her were her daughter, Cynthia Britto, and sister-in-law, Lisa Renee Kregear, 22.
Their skeletal remains were found in April in a grave in northeast Oklahoma on property once belonging to Chad Noe's grandmother and uncle, authorities have said.
The uncle, Grover Prewitt Jr., is charged with being an accessory to first-degree murder after the fact. He is accused of helping his mother, Ida Prewitt, and other family members conceal the bodies in 1992. He pleaded not guilty through his attorney in a court appearance Friday.
Ida Prewitt died in 2011. No one has been charged directly in the deaths.
‘It hurt bad'
For Leon Camp, the first year after his wife disappeared was rough. His last memory of his wife is her kissing him goodbye and telling him she loved him.
He said he became self-destructive. He remembers hitting his hand against solid pieces of wood. “It hurt bad,” he said.
He ended up seeking a psychiatrist and taking anti-depressants.
For years, he said, he moved from city to city, often staying with relatives, and became a workaholic to forget. He kept on his wedding ring for a couple of years after the disappearance. He never remarried. He lost all his photos of Wendy when he couldn't pay the fees on a storage place in Texas.
He had a heart attack in 2000. He went blind in one eye.
He said he reconciled with God after hitting rock bottom in Woodward.
‘A wake-up call'
His car broke down. He got fired from a convenience store. He was about to be evicted because he couldn't pay his rent.
“I had a wake-up call,” he said.
“I decided to put my foot down and serve God like I'm supposed to. I was raised in a religious home and my parents took us to church. I knew to do right. I was just running from God and I decided I've had enough of this. I decided to give my life completely to the Lord,” he said.
“If it hadn't been for God, I'd probably be no telling where. I trust and believe in Him. He's helped me through all this.”
Leon Camp, 58, now lives with another sister, Manell Morris, and her husband in Pratt, Kan. He works at a job he likes at a hospital.
Morris, 55, has struggled, too, over the years. She said she often prayed the three were still alive somehow.
“I know they're not hurting and they're safe now. It's still bothersome. And it's still very hard to understand why,” she said.
Leon and Wendy Camp had been married three years.
She and ex-husband Chad Noe were in a custody battle in 1992 over their son.
Leon Camp always has suspected his wife's former in-laws in her disappearance. He said his wife's former mother-in-law, Beverly Noe, picked her up in Oklahoma City on that fateful day.
“They insisted on picking her up for some reason. I guess they didn't want me knowing where they lived. They didn't want me taking Wendy,” he said.
“She was excited about going but I didn't want her going by herself. I didn't trust the people because of the custody battle. They were scary people. I asked my sister to go.”
Beverly Noe in 1992 told investigators she drove Wendy Camp, Cynthia and Kregear from Oklahoma City to Shamrock but let them out at a Walmart in Chandler on the way back.
She claimed Wendy Camp “kept making nasty remarks and asking stupid questions” so she dropped them off in Chandler, an Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation agent reported.
In interviews with The Oklahoman and The Associated Press, Beverly Noe still claims she dropped the three off in Chandler. Investigators don't believe her account, sources said.
Leon Camp said his wife called him from Shamrock when she left there that day. He said she would have called him or her mother if she had been stranded in Chandler.
He credits God with the discovery of the skeletal remains, but he said it was a shock when his wife's sister called to tell him late one night.
“That really tore me up,” he said. “I was bawling like a baby. My legs got weak. … I fell to the floor.”
The remains had been dumped in a hole that had been dug for a septic tank, the OSBI agent reported in a court affidavit.
Grover Prewitt, 60, of Bristow, admitted that he called a backhoe driver to fill in the septic tank hole at the direction of his mother after the two women and girl went missing, investigators reported.
He said he never looked inside the hole himself “because he was scared of what he would see,” according to the court affidavit.
According to the affidavit, Grover Prewitt also said his mother asked him to sprinkle black pepper over the area. He said he told her that was “awful damn strange” and she said it would deter dog scents.
Grover Prewitt said his mother eventually told him one time that she “took care” of those three people, according to the affidavit.
The three victims may have been shot, sources told The Oklahoman.
Investigators discovered a revolver in the septic tank hole underneath one of the bodies.
The handle of the gun is visible in the dirt in a photo of the grave released by the OSBI.