MCCLEARY, Wash. — Ten years later, authorities are still searching for the person who kidnapped and killed a little girl from Grays Harbor County.
Lindsey Baum was 10-years-old when she vanished just blocks from her home.
"It's like a lifetime, an entire lifetime,” said Melissa Baum, Lindsey’s mother.
Melissa Baum has been haunted by questions for a decade.
"Who did it? How? Why? None of those are answered. The only answer I have is my daughter is never coming home,” Melissa Baum said. “It's been hell. I mean, she's been gone almost as long as she was alive."
You can hear the hurt in Melissa Baum’s voice and feel her frustration. It's painful to think about the life she should've had.
"I missed prom. I missed her first boyfriend, her first kiss, her first dance, she's missed everything. She was 10,” Melissa Baum said.
July 7 she should be celebrating Lindsey's 21st birthday. Instead, she's searching for her daughter's killer, which is what she's been doing every single day for 3,650 days.
"I'm angry pretty much 24 hours a day, I'm angry,” Melissa Baum said.
The mention of Lindsey's name takes Grays Harbor County Sheriff Rick Scott back to June 26, 2009.
"I remember it like it was yesterday,” he said.
It was around 9:30 on an unusually warm summer night. Lindsey was walking home from her friend's house a few blocks down the road.
Somewhere between Maple Street and Mommsen Street she vanished.
"Gone in thin air. We found no evidence of any struggle, no signs of any issues along the route she would've been walking,” said Scott.
Investigators searched McCleary for months. The community posted pictures of the 10-year-old and questioned drivers.
Detectives released surveillance video from the Shell gas station near Lindsey's home.
They compiled 40 persons of interest and served warrants, but never developed a suspect.
The case went cold.
"We've brought Lindsey home. We've recovered her,” said Scott in a news conference in 2018.
Last May, Scott broke the news even he couldn't believe.
"When they told me it was up in the mountains outside Ellensburg, I was flabbergasted, because, that's the last place we would've thought,” he said.
The search for a missing child turned into the hunt for her murderer.
"I just felt hope exit my body. I could feel it draining from my feet,” Baum Melissa. "I think, in a lot of ways, the last year has been the hardest because, the first nine, at least I had hope."
How the brown-haired, brown-eyed 10-year-old ended up more than 100 miles from home is a mystery.
"To find her that far away is probably the biggest clue we have now,” said Scott.
Rose Winquist agrees. She's the private investigator Baum hired in 2015 in hopes of bringing her daughter home.
"I think it's going to be paramount to find the rest of her. There could potentially be DNA on something,” said Winquist. "We don't know how she was dumped. Was she wrapped in something? There's just all kinds of possibilities that exist that could solve this case."
More questions, Baum desperately wants answered.
A decade later, the sound of her daughter's laugh is starting to fade, but she won't stop searching until justice is served.
"It's really more than just Lindsey's life, people need to realize that. It's not just, she's gone, she's been found, move on. It's not like that. She was 10. She was entitled to a life that somebody stole from her. I'll go to hell before I stop and let them get away with it,” Melissa Baum said.
Deputies stress it’ll only take a small piece of information to unravel the case and catch Lindsey's killer.
There is a $35,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest and conviction.
Tips can be submitted by calling 360-964-1799 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
See home video of Lindsey below.
Cox Media Group