The Disappearance of Lindsey Baum
Case File Overview
June 26th, 2009 was a warm day in McCleary, a small town with a population of 1,500. Lindsey and Joshua headed to their friend Micayla’s house. Along the way, Lindsey and her brother got into an argument over a bike, so he headed back home. Lindsey asked Micayla if she could sleep over, but her friend’s mother said no. Around 9:30 pm, Lindsey embarked on the 10-minute walk home alone.
10-year-old Lindsey never made it home. Melissa, Lindsey’s mother, was extremely worried. She called 911 at around 11:00 pm and the search for Lindsey commenced. Soon, agents from the FBI’s Seattle office arrived, adding to the hundreds of police and searchers already scouring the area for Lindsey. Ground, air, and water searches were conducted for ten days. And search dogs assisted with the investigation. No sign of Lindsey was found.
Lindsey has been described as quite the talker. She loved writing stories and dreamed of publishing enough books to fill her family’s bookshelves.
At the time of her disappearance, Lindsey was 4 feet 9 inches (145 centimetres) and 90 pounds (41 kilograms). She had shoulder-length brown hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing a light blue hooded pullover shirt and blue jeans.
Case File Theories
The authorities investigating Lindsey’s disappearance haven’t taken many theories off the table. Sheriff Scott explained, “There’s no one piece of evidence that points to an investigative path or scenario that says, well, we know now that she was the victim of a stranger abduction, or we know that she was the victim of an abduction by a family member or an acquaintance. We don’t have anything that has allowed us to be that focused, and without that focus you can’t really clear anyone with 100-percent certainty.”
Below is an overview of possible scenarios that caused Lindsey’s disappearance.
The authorities discounted this theory almost from the beginning. The police said, “This young girl didn’t simply run off on her own. There was no evidence to support that.” When Lindsey left, she didn’t take any of her belongings. Even her new cell phone was left behind. She was afraid of staying out after dark and had no money with her. Given all of this, and the fact that Lindsey was only ten years old, it’s extremely improbable that she vanished of her own accord.
The police did mention that it was possible Lindsey was abducted by an acquaintance or family member. I’m surprised that Lindsey’s father hasn’t been discussed as a person of interest. Remember that Lindsey’s mother and father had recently divorced, and Lindsey and her family had moved to McCleary to rebuild their lives. I suspect that Lindsey’s father could prove that he wasn’t in Washington state when she disappeared. Although it isn’t mentioned in any of the reports I read, I think it’s safe to assume that he must have a rock solid alibi, thereby eliminating him from the suspect pool.
Stranger abductions are rare, but this feels like a probable scenario in Lindsey’s case. Over the years, more than 40 people have been considered a person of interest in Lindsey’s disappearance. 20 search warrants have been executed and roughly 40 polygraph tests administered. Neither has a single person of interest been exonerated nor has a suspect been publicly identified. Anyone who happened to pass by Lindsey that night could have snatched her. If this is what happened, the perpetrator’s identity remains a mystery.
Lindsey’s mother related two incidents that occurred in the week prior to Lindsey’s disappearance that interested the police and seemed to indicate that Lindsey may have had a stalker. Melissa said, “The girls had been up at the park in the bathroom and they said a man came in on them, but then he left and took off on a bike. The other incident was her and her friend said that they thought somebody was following them. A man in a white car.” Even though surveillance from a gas station in the area captured a white vehicle near the time Lindsey disappeared, the authorities have been unable to make any headway on the stalker theory.
In 2017, Charles Emery, 82, Thomas Emery, 80, and Edwin Emery, 78, were arrested on child pornography and sexual abuse charges. Their home was located around 30 minutes away from where Lindsey vanished. Prosecutors said that the Emery brothers’ home was “littered floor to ceiling” with child porn, toys, and children’s shoes. Also, writings about the “ritualistic and Satanic sacrifices of minor female children” were found. Disturbingly, Lindsey’s missing person flier was located at the scene. The authorities, however, have been unable to link the Emery brothers to Lindsey’s disappearance.
Most people believe that Tim Hartman was involved in Lindsey’s disappearance. Hartman owned a jewelry store in McCleary and was a Volunteer Firefighter. He told the police that he had an alibi for the night Lindsey vanished. He was attending a class in Belfair that ended at 9:00 pm, approximately an hour away.
The FBI determined that Hartman’s class actually ended at 8:15 pm. Even more, there is video footage of Hartman appearing at Mike’s Market around the time of Lindsey’s disappearance. This store was a couple of blocks away from where she was last seen. Hartman’s jewelry store was located on Maple Street, and Lindsey would have walked past it on her route home.
On the night Lindsey vanished, Hartman contacted Lindsey’s mother and assisted with the search. He even drove Melissa around to look for her daughter. Hartman said Chief George Crumb of the McCleary Police Department asked him to join the search, but Chief Crumb doesn’t recall making that request. Sometimes killers insert themselves into investigations to learn what the police know, and even to enjoy the grief experienced by loved ones. Hartman, though, could have just been a concerned citizen. Also, considering he was in emergency services, I would be more surprised if he didn’t lend a hand. Hartman’s involvement might suggest guilt, but it’s impossible to know for sure.
Investigators searched Hartman’s car, home and jewelry store. Here is a video explaining that over 100 items were seized, including rope, a fingernail, and handwritten notes about Lindsey. Regardless, forensic evidence must not have pointed to Hartman’s involvement, as investigators never changed his classification from person of interest to suspect.
Hartman maintains that he was not involved in Lindsey’s disappearance. He simply forgot that he had headed back to town early.
What do you think happened to Lindsey?
Lindsey’s disappearance has forever changed McCleary. Sheriff Scott explained, “It literally took the innocence of that community and erased it that night.”
Lindsey’s loved ones will never give up hope. Lindsey’s mother stated, “I have to believe that it’s going to be solved, and if it’s not in my lifetime I promise I will haunt from the grave whoever was involved. If I have to follow them to hell to do it I will.”
The police need the public’s help to solve this heartbreaking case. There is a $35,000 reward for information leading to Lindsey’s whereabouts, and the arrest and conviction of the person responsible. Anyone with any information is asked to call the Grays Harbor Sheriff’s Office at (360) 249-3711.
Lindsey Baum – NamUs National Missing Persons Database case file
Find Lindsey Baum – Facebook page
“Eight Years Later, No Answers in Disappearance of Lindsey Baum” – NBC News article
“Brothers Accused of Abuse Probed for Lindsey Baum Cold-Case Link” – New York Daily News article
“Person of Interest Identified in Lindsey Baum Disappearance” – KOMO News article