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05/07/13 3:47 PM
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05/07/13 3:53 PM
Investigators with the Grays Harbor Sheriff's Office and the FBI grew suspicious after they found inconsistencies in information provided a year ago by a 47-year-old man, whose name they will not release.
Some of the man's account failed to match other information the investigators had obtained independently, Grays Harbor Undersherriff Rick Scott told ABCNews.com.
"We found that what we were being told and what we now believed to be true were two different things," Scott said. "Those inconsistencies gave birth to some concerns that we needed to explore further."
The Sheriff's Office obtained search warrants and carried out searches on the man's residence and a shared storage unit Tuesday, seizing some items and speaking to the man at length.
Investigators planned to search his car this morning.
Scott downplayed the new search, emphasizing that this man was one of many persons of interest in the case and has not become a suspect.
"A lot of what we were concerned about has been somewhat explained," Scott said.
"We found nothing yesterday that clearly links him to Lindsey's disappearance.
"We've looked at over 4,000 leads so far," Scott said. "Even if it eliminates someone from further scrutiny, it's a step in the right direction."
Investigators will submit the items they seized from the man's residence and storage unit for forensic testing, but Scott said it may be some time before they learn anything.
It has been more than a year since Lindsey disappeared on the 10-minute walk from a friend's house. Witnesses spotted her shortly after 9:30 p.m. on that day last June, but when she did not return home by 10, her mother, Melissa, went to look for her. When Lindsey did not turn up, her mother notified police within the hour.
Lindsey would have celebrated her 12th birthday a week ago, on July 7.
Even though a year has passed, Scott still holds hope his office can find Lindsey and "bring her home.
"You have to remain optimistic," he said."It's a painstakingly slow process, but we are making progress."http://abcnews.go.com/US/person-interest-lindsey-baum-missing-child-case/story?id=11161927
05/07/13 4:01 PM
But on Friday evening, the McCleary, Wash., 10-year-old left her friend's house for home and disappeared somewhere along the way.
"I think somebody took her," Melissa Baum said of her daughter, who was ready to enter the sixth grade in the fall. "I'm trying to constantly push away the bad thoughts."
Grays Harbor County Undersheriff Rick Scott said search efforts have escalated in the days since Lindsey's been missing from volunteers on foot -- still the most common tactic used -- to scent dogs, horses, all-terrain vehicles and helicopters.
"We're not ready to give up hope," Scott told ABCNews.com.
Baum said she last saw her daughter when Lindsey, along with her 12-year-old brother, Josh, headed out to Lindsey's friend's house in hopes she could get permission to spend the night at the Baum's house.
Baum said her children began squabbling over the use of Josh's bike on the way there and were stopped by a family friend who sent Josh home to end the argument. Lindsey continued on to her friend's house. When Lindsey's friend found out she couldn't stay the night, Lindsey headed for home around 9:30 p.m.
"When she wasn't home by 10, I started to get nervous," Baum said, adding that 10 p.m. is the curfew for her children.
She began calling Lindsey's cell phone, only to find that her daughter had left it plugged into the charger. Initially thinking that her daughter must have met up with friends in the neighborhood, Baum set out on foot to find her daughter.
But there was no sign of her. Eventually, her friend's parents joined the search by car. Baum even let her daughter's beloved German shepherd Kadence off its leash in hopes the dog would help find her. Finally, around 10:45 p.m., Baum said she called the police.
Baum described her daughter as outgoing, talkative and mature for her age. She loved to read and write and had big plans for her future.
"She insisted when she grows up she's going to be an author and an illustrator and a veterinarian," Baum said.
Scott said that, with the FBI's expertise with missing children, authorities have been conducting a simultaneous search and rescue operation with a criminal investigation, hoping to find leads.
The latter includes checking up on the resident and transient sex offenders in McCleary and neighboring communities and reviewing surveillance videos.
Scott said that there were a few businesses located just off the street Lindsey would have used to get home, and while the little girl did not appear in any of the videos, police have received clues about who was in the area at the time she disappeared.
Scott said witnesses were able to put Lindsey within a couple of blocks of her house just after 9:30 p.m. The last person reported to have seen her, he said, was a neighbor on her way to work.
Authorities had initially looked at the case as a possible runaway, but Scott admitted that "it's becoming less likely as time goes on."
Baum said she knows her daughter would not run away. She had been upset about her parents finalizing their divorce in April but had known it was coming, Baum said.
And Lindsey knew better than to go somewhere with a stranger -- it was something they had talked about previously.
"I think she's alive," Baum said. "I really and truly feel that strongly in my heart."
Baum said she and Lindsey had been planning to celebrate her upcoming July 7 birthday by going with a group of friends to the new "Harry Potter" movie a few days later.
Instead, the family is now trying to cope with a life without Lindsey. Baum said her son Josh is racked by guilt that he argued with his sister and left her to visit her friend on her own. And even Kadence is suffering the loss of a friend, refusing to eat normally.
Baum said she's baffled that no one has reported seeing anything the night Lindsey disappeared, unusual, since the street she took home is lined with homes.
"If we can find her," she said, "we can work through anything."http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=7966924&page=1
05/07/13 4:17 PM
Lindsey disappeared three months ago while walking home from a friend’s home on a Friday evening.
The Daily World reports that certain inconsistent statements and suspicious activity led them to a particular home during their investigation.
One warrant contained statements from family and friends of a man whose disturbing conversations regarding Lindsey, odd phone activity, past accusations of sexual assault, and conflicting alibis, sparked the interest of detectives.
Although police say their search of the man’s home garnered no evidence of wrongdoing, testing of forensic samples taken at the home and a neighboring property on Sept. 25, could take months.
According to the World, the search warrant also listed dozens of items law enforcement hoped to find, such as weapons, cars, and clothing that may match Lindsey’s.
According to the warrant, the man “…told [a friend] he could not believe that a girl had been taken and cut up and dismembered.”
The same man is also a suspect in an alleged attempted rape in 2000 when he was a teenager. According to the World, he allowed several children to watch pornography and then barricaded a 12-year-old girl in a room, attempting to rape her.
Lindsey’s mother also reported to police that the man had followed her. He told police he was watching her because he thought she was acting suspicious. A car that closely matched the man’s was reportedly spotted near the location Lindsey disappeared and he worked part-time at a business Lindsey frequented.
On the evening of Lindsey’s disappearance, the man told police he was at his second job, but his boss told investigators he had been suspended—thus, he couldn’t have been working during that time. Police confronted him with that fact, to which he gave them another alibi, which could not be verified.
The warrant stated the man’s story was “…contrary to the pattern of cell phone usage shown in [his] cell phone records. He normally has frequent cell phone activity until at least midnight or 1 a.m. each day.”
Lindsey Baum is 4-foot-9 with brown eyes and brown hair. She was wearing a blue shirt and jeans when she disappeared.
Anyone who might have any information about the whereabouts of Lindsey Baum should call 1-866-915-8299 or via e-mail email@example.com Information may also be mailed to PO Box 305 McCleary, 98557.http://www.examiner.com/article/warrant-lindsey-baum-case-local-man-acts-suspicious-no-alibi-past-sex-abuse-allegations
05/07/13 4:26 PM
Authorities in Grays Harbor, Washington, have revealed new information and possible evidence in the case of missing Lindsey Baum.
Several items were seized yesterday at the home of a “person of interest” in the case. Officials will only identify the man as a jewelry store owner from McCleary, Washington, where Baum went missing in 2009. According to police, more than 100 items were recovered during a search of the man’s home, including a fingernail, rope, computers and other electronic storage devices, a sheet with unknown stains, a duffle bag with possible human hair, and hand-written notes regarding Baum.
The potential evidence has been taken in for forensic testing, and authorities indicate it could be several weeks before any new information is known.
This is the second time in a week authorities have revealed possible new information in the case. Last week, officials released a video showing the person of interest was in McCleary at the time of Lindsey’s disappearance, despite his earlier statements that he had not been in the area.
Lindsey Baum was 10 years old when she went missing on June 26th, 2009, while walking home early in the evening.http://missingpersonsnews.com/new-information-in-lindsey-baum-case/
05/07/13 5:06 PM
THE OLYMPIAN • Published January 28, 2010 Grays Harbor County Sheriff's officials and the FBI have increased the reward for information that helps them solve the case of the disappearance of Lindsey Baum from $10,000 to $20,000.
Baum was 10 when she went missing June 26 as she walked home from a friend’s house in McCleary.
Grays Harbor County Undersheriff Rick Scott said Wednesday that investigators plan to ramp up the police presence in McCleary in the coming weeks as they reinvestigate and re-canvass the area.
Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff’s office at 360-249-3711, Ext. 543.
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05/07/13 6:59 PM
“None of us are perfect. None of us has perfect lives,” said Smart, who was 14 when she was taken.
“We all have our trials in life, and no one can understand exactly how we feel,” she added Thursday. “But, no matter how bad life gets, it will always get equally as good.”
Today Smart, 25, lives happily with her husband in Utah. She formerly worked as a correspondent for “Good Morning America” and now travels the country, appearing at speaking engagements through her work with the Elizabeth Smart Foundation.
Before her noontime speech, Smart met with Melissa Baum, mother of missing McCleary girl Lindsey Baum. Lindsey was 10 when she went missing not two blocks from the McCleary police station as she walked home from a friend’s home June 26, 2009. She hasn’t been found.
Melissa Baum’s eyes welled with tears as she embraced Smart before the event, which was sponsored by the Rotary Clubs of Thurston County.“It was a little more emotional when she turned around than I thought it would be,” Baum said of meeting Smart.
Baum said Smart’s presence gives her hope that her daughter might someday be found — and that “when she is found, she’s not going to be destroyed.”
Smart joined local human-trafficking survivor Rani Hong to share a message of hope at Thursday’s event, and to share how they overcame grueling circumstances to live joyful, meaningful lives. Both said they were at Saint Martin’s to raise awareness about how parents and others can be more vigilant and aware of the dangers of human traffickers, abductors and child abusers.
“It really does happen in our community,” Hong said of human trafficking. “We know that trafficking victims are being brought over the border into Washington.”Hong was 7 when she was abducted from her village in southern India, and sold by a broker into child slavery. She eventually was trafficked through Canada into Washington. She said that finally, after authorities intervened, she was adopted into a loving home in Olympia.
Hong works to bring global awareness to the worldwide problem of human trafficking through her work with the Olympia-based organization she founded, The Tronie Foundation. Hong said she has helped pass legislation to fight human trafficking that has been used as a model in other states. She also serves as the United Nations special adviser to the Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking. Every year, human traffickers bring about 14,500 children into the United States to live lives of servitude, she said.
“I speak for those without a voice, for the millions of children that are sold into slavery,” Hong said.
Smart and Hong spoke directly about the horrors of being abducted.
Smart, whose ordeal made headlines nationwide, said that “the worst time in my life is probably a time that you all know.”
She spoke of her abductor forcing her to marry him in a bizarre ceremony in a tent. She also spoke of being raped, and of being threatened with death if she resisted or tried to escape. Smart’s abductor, Brian David Mitchell, is serving a life sentence in a federal prison.
Smart said that during her captivity, she at first felt like the children who are killed by their abductors are “the lucky ones, because they don’t have to feel like their soul has been crushed.” But, Smart added, thoughts of again seeing her loving family, and in particular her mother, gave her hope. She said she remembered her mother’s words that she would always love her, no matter what, and “those words stayed with me.”
“I decided I would survive no matter what it took,” Smart said.
Smart said she was rescued because an alert citizen saw her in public, thought she recognized her and called police.
“It was because of people like you who had the initiative to pick up the phone and call police and say, ‘I think I just saw Elizabeth Smart,’” she said. Smart was rescued March 12, 2003, in Sandy, Utah, about 18 miles from her home. She described how happy she was to see police car after police car arrive at her abductor’s residence.
Smart said advice she received from a friendly woman in a hospital after her rescue have stuck with her. The woman told her that what her abductor did was wicked and evil, and that “the worst punishment you can give him is to be happy.”
“She was right,” Smart told the crowd. “I made up my mind not to give him another second of my life.”
Smart then repeated themes from her introductory remarks.
“We all have trials; we all have rough spots in life,” she said. “… No matter how bad life is or how hard it is to get out of bed, remember, something better will happen.”
Smart urged the audience to keep giving thoughts and prayers to the Baum family.
“If you see something suspicious or not quite right, make a phone call, because you never know whose life you might be saving,” she said.
Hong’s words about how she overcame being taken from her family and being sold into slavery echoed Smart’s. She said that after she was adopted in Olympia, she received support from the entire community, including the Rotary Club, which awarded her a scholarship to attend South Puget Sound Community College.
“I made a choice, that I’m going to live for tomorrow,” Hong said. “Tomorrow is going to be different.”
Thursday’s event was part of a daylong child-trafficking awareness fair at Saint Martin’s that brought leaders and law enforcement together. Booths set up around the pavilion offered services and tools to protect children against exploitation, including fingerprinting, retina scans and Crime Stoppers’ “My Child ID kits.”
Smart and Hong were scheduled to give a keynote address at 7 a.m. at Saint Martin’s, retelling their stories.
Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5445
05/08/13 2:24 AM
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