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Remains of 10-year-old girl who went missing in 2009 found, police now on the hunt for her murderer

After years of searching, investigators have finally found the remains of Lindsey Baum, a 10-year-old girl who went missing in 2009.
UPDATED FEB 18, 2020
(Source: Getty Images)
(Source: Getty Images)

Nine years ago a 10-year-old girl disappeared while walking to her house in rural Washington state. Despite search parties combing the area and thousands of dollars of reward money being offered, she remained lost. Now, Lindsey Baum has finally been brought home - albeit as a corpse.

Baum, a brown-eyed, brown-haired girl who loved ‘Twilight’ and ‘Harry Potter’, was walking home from her friend’s place when she disappeared on June 26th, 2009. Police and volunteers scoured the small town of McCleary, Washington without any results. She was less than two weeks away from her 11th birthday.

“I just need my daughter home. Lindsey, please come home, you’re not in trouble,” Melissa Baum, the child’s mother, told the Daily World newspaper in Aberdeen, Washington in 2009.

Her parents were quick to dismiss any chance that she might have run away or hidden herself. The 10-year-old was reportedly afraid of the dark and very superstitious. She believed the time between midnight and 1 AM to be “the witching hour”, according to her parents.

“If she had been hiding, she would have come out by now,” her mother told the Daily World newspaper shortly after her daughter disappeared. “She can’t hide that long; she loves to talk.”

Her father, Scott Baum, was all set to be deployed in Iraq when the little girl disappeared.

“Please bring my daughter home,” he said at a news conference in July 2009, according to media reports. “I’m fixing to deploy to Iraq, and tomorrow is her birthday.”

In October 2009, investigators released a search warrant outlining suspicious activity and inconsistent statements. They searched the home of a man living outside McCleary. The suspect had been reportedly engaged in disturbing conversations about the missing girl and had previously been accused of sexual assault. However, the officers could not find any evidence against him and the lead had to be dropped.

With the one year anniversary of the child’s disappearance approaching, the police announced that they would ramp up the investigation. Witnesses were re-interviewed and the areas in and around McCleary were searched again. The sheriff's office promised not to give up the investigation until the child was found and returned to her distraught parents. Unfortunately, this time too, their efforts proved fruitless.

Now nine years later, the police are pursuing a new case: that of the murder of Lindsey Baum.

Last September, the missing girl’s remains were found by some hunters in a remote part of eastern Washington. The body was brought to an FBI lab in Virginia for DNA analysis and identification. Several months later, it was announced that the corpse was indeed that of the missing Baum.

“I’m here today to share with you that we’ve brought Lindsey home,” Grays Harbor County Sheriff Rick Scott said at a news conference on Thursday, May 10th. “Sadly, she was not recovered as we and her family had hoped and prayed these last nine years.”

According to the Washington Post, Scott was the undersheriff at the time of the disappearance and was personally involved in the investigation that followed. He did not reveal the exact location where the body was found. He also declined to explain why the police believe that she was murdered. He did, however, promise to bring the "monster" responsible for this heinous crime to justice.

“For the last nine years, we’ve not been able to say definitively what this was beyond it was a missing child,” Scott said. “Certainly, the prayers and hopes of the family are that we would someday find her alive and bring her home. Now, the reality is we need to find a homicide suspect.”

On Saturday, May 12th, the Kittitas County sheriff’s office revealed that the remains were found there, nearly a hundred miles away from Baum’s hometown. The body was found in a steep, heavily timbered area with large cliffs and deep ravines. Over the weekend, searchers combed the area looking for some sort of evidence that might explain what happened to Baum.

“There’s someone out there that knows who did this and how this happened, and there’s people out there that have information that would be the nugget that we need to explode this investigation and culminate in an arrest,” Scott told reporters. “We need those people to have the courage to come forward and share that information anonymously, through a text message, however it is they wish to convey that.”