Remains of missing Washington State girl found Lindsey Baum vanished from McCleary, WA in 2009 May 11, 2018
Lindsay Baum. She went missing from McCleary, WA in June 2009
Age progression photo of Lindsey Baum that was released in 2013.
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By Rex D. Cain
(McCleary, WA.) – The family of a long missing McLeary, Washington girl now has the answer to the whereabouts of their loved one, but it wasn’t the one they wanted to hear.
One of the most baffling missing persons cases in Washington history has now become a homicide probe with the announcement Thursday by Grays Harbor County Sheriff Rick Scott that the remains of 10-year old Lindsey Baum – who vanished one night in June 2009 while walking home from a freind's house – have been found in a remote part of the state, in eastern Washington -- hundreds of miles from where she disappeared.
Speaking to reporters at a new conference Thursday afternoon in McCleary, Scott said Lindsey’s remains were “unknowingly” found in September by some hunters in Eastern Washington. Later the remains were sent to an FBI crime lab for DNA analysis which confirmed Lindsey’s identity only recently.
It was not revealed in what county in eastern Washington the remains were found nor how far from the nearest town or road. The hunters who found the remains were not identified.
Scott said the discovery was a “devastating” development for her family but one that now allows investigators to narrow in on a suspect or suspects in the little girl’s abduction and presumed murder.
“The prayers and hopes of the family were that we would some day find her alive and bring her home. Now, the reality is we need to find a homicide suspect,” Scott said.
Case became national news
The Lindsey Baum case became national news including a cover story in People Magazine and coverage on the The Oprah Winfrey TV Show.
Her vanishing from a seemingly safe, quintessential small American town like McCleary was a staggering blow to the community. McCleary, just 2 square miles of land and a population of only 1,653 people at the 2010 census, is one of those places where people at one time felt safe not locking their doors at night.
Lindsey disappeared about 9:30 pm. on June 26, 2009 while walking home from a friend’s house. Despite many searches after she disappeared, despite police looking at dozens of possible suspects, despite the heavy involvement of the FBI with all of that agency's resources, no trace of the little girl was ever found and no arrests were made.
In the early days there was a website dedicated to finding Lindsay Baum: htttp://www.findlindseybaum.com. It has since been taken down.
The age progression photo
In June 2013, four years after Lindsey vanished just blocks away from her home, authorities released a new age-progressed photograph of Lindsey (see above right) that police and the FBI were hoping might bring in a new tip that would lead them to Lindsey. The photo, which shows what Lindsey would look like at age 14 was released by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
That next month, on July 7th Lindsey would have turned fifteen years old. There was a $35,000 reward that was offered for information about the case that would lead to her discovery.
Prior to 2013, the last significant news in the case came in mid February of 2012 when investigators revealed the type of items that were recovered during a search four months earlier involving an individual simply described as “a person of interest.”
The search warrant
In October 2011 FBI officers along with Grays Harbor County sheriff's deputies served a search warrant on a McCleary, Washington jewelry repair shop in the continuing search for Lindsey.
Detectives searched the business, located at 133 South 4th Street in McCleary – the same street in McCleary where Lindsey vanished on that June evening in 2009 – but no word was forthcoming from authorities about what, if anything of value to the case was found.
The owner of the business told police he had nothing to do with the girl’s disappearance.
KIRO-TV in Seattle reported in February of 2012 that, according to documents the station had obtained, police took more than 100 items from a man in McCleary and among the items seized from the man’s home, car and business were, according to the report an, "Apparent fingernail from passenger side of car", ropes and straps," Pink sheet with unknown stains,"Brown duffle bag with assumed human hair," and "Handwritten notes regarding missing child."
In June of 2010 authorities released the video below of Lindsey that was filmed about eight months before she vanished.
The video was provided to the Grays Harbor County Sheriff's Department by a neighborhood family whose child, the young boy, is seen in the video with Lindsey. In the video the kids are seen play-acting a skit they created and was videotaped by the parent.
The video was made on or about November of 2008 and shows what Lindsey looked like about eight months before her disappearance.
The purpose of the video was to show Lindsey’s likeness in full motion, her movements, mannerisms and voice, so that anyone who saw Lindsey may be able to more easily identify her.
Where remains were found may be important to investigators
Where Lindsey Baum’s remains were found leaves investigators with numerous possibilities to ponder and - depending upon what they might know at present about a suspect or suspects or persons of interest – could provide new angles to pursue or old avenues of the case to revisit.
For example, if a suspect or person of interest is known to live in western Washington but go hunting or fishing in eastern Washington - or has family or friends there or owns property in the area or perhaps used to live there and thus is very familiar with the area - that may provide a renewed focus for the investigation on that person or persons.
It is also possible the perpetrator or perpetrators lives in the general area where the remains were found and was only passing through McCleary (or visiting friends or family) in 2009 and engaged in a “crime of opportunity” when that person saw Lindsey walking down the street and realized he (or they) could abduct the girl at a certain place on that street without being seen doing so.
It is also possible Lindsey was abducted by a drifter just passing through McCleary and the location of where the body was left was chosen at random as that drifter continued on his or her journey which eventually may have led the killer out of state. If that was the case, the location of where the remains were found might be of little value unless the killer left something at the site which could somehow be traced back to that person.
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