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The Disappearance of Lindsey Baum

Case Update

Hello, my loyal true crime readers! On May 10, 2018 a press conference was held that provided a devastating update in this case. Lindsey’s remains have been located. Although this means the search for Lindsey is over, the quest for justice continues. 

For background details about the case, I suggest that you read my initial post below and then return here to learn about the update.

Lindsey’s body was actually located in September 2017 by hunters in a remote area in eastern Washington state, hundreds of miles from where she disappeared. The authorities are being tight-lipped about the exact location Lindsey’s remains were discovered, as they believe it “could provide clues for the case.”  

Lindsey’s remains were not identified by a DNA match until the beginning of May 2018 by the FBI lab in Quantico, Virginia. As her remains were not associated with any particular crime, Lindsey’s DNA was merely added to the queue. Although the rational part of me realizes that this is how the system works, I cannot help but grieve for the extra needless months that Lindsey’s loved ones waited to find her. 

A statement on the Find Lindsey Baum Facebook page reads:

“Lindsey’s mother, Melissa Baum, as well as the relatives and close friends of Lindsey wish to thank everyone for their outpouring of love and support since the onset of Lindsey’s disappearance … While we are experiencing profound grief and mourning the loss of ‘OUR ANGEL’ Lindsey at this time, we respectfully ask for your understanding of our need for privacy.”     

Lindsey’s case is far from closed until her killer is apprehended and convicted of her murder. Grays Harbor County Sheriff Rick Scott has implored the public to reach out to the police and provide the evidence needed to assist with solving Lindsey’s murder. Sheriff Scott explained to the media, “There are people out there that have information that would be the nugget that we need to explode this investigation and culminate in an arrest. We need those people to have the courage to come forward and share that information.”

Let’s keep spreading the word about this case and help get Lindsey and her loved ones at least some sense of justice.  

~ Christine

The Disappearance of Lindsey Baum

 

Case File Overview

 

During the summer of 2009, newly-divorced Melissa Baum and her two children, Joshua and Lindsey, moved to Washington state from Tennessee for a fresh start.

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.

Age progression photo of missing person Lindsey Baum
Image source: NCMEC

 

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.

Runaway

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.

Father

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 Abduction

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.

Stalker

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.

Emery Brothers

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.

Tim Hartman

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.

Related reading

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

‘A Monster Is Still Out There’: Remains Are Discovered of Girl, 10, Who Vanished Walking Home From Her Friend’s House a Decade AgoDaily Mail article

Missing Girl Lindsey Baum’s Remains Found In September 2017King 5 News article

Interested in missing person cases? Check out the disappearance of Amy Wroe Bechtel and the vanishing of Jenna Van Gelderen.

Published inMissing Person FilesTrue CrimeUnsolved Murder Files

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2 Comments

  1. Grace Patterson Grace Patterson

    So glad to hear that Lindsey’s remains were found. At least the family will no longer have to wonder where she is and can lay her to rest in peace. I still feel this was a stranger abduction. Someone must know something. Can only pray that someone comes forward with new evidence so the family can get some kind of resolve.

    • Christine Christine

      Me too; no matter how heartbreaking the information is, Lindsey’s family can have now at least some sense of closure. I’m also leaning towards a stranger abduction. Hopefully the police can garner some forensic evidence from Lindsey’s remains regardless of how long it may have been in the woods. I believe that forensic evidence or someone coming forward with information will be the big break that the authorities need to catch her killer.

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