Lindsey Baum was born on 7 July 1998 in Tennessee. When Lindsey was 10 years old, her mother, Melissa Baum went through a messy divorce, and she took Lindsey and her older brother Joshua and moved to McCleary, a small town in Washington in 2009. Lindsey and Joshua quickly settled in to their new lives and made friends in their neighbourhood. On the evening of 25 June 2009, as Melissa was tucking Lindsey into bed, she told her mother that she was frightened. When Melissa asked her what she meant, Lindsey said she was frightened that something bad was going to happen to her very soon, that she didn’t know what, but she just had a feeling. Melissa thought this was strange but did not press the issue with her daughter that night. The next morning when Lindsey appeared to be her usual happy self, her mother quickly forgot about their conversation the prior evening.
Lindsey Baum prior to her disappearance.
On 26 June 2009, Lindsey and her brother Joshua spend the day swimming at a nearby friend's house. The siblings returned home together for a short period of time before they left to go to another friend’s house, a young girl called Micayla who lived approximately five blocks away. On the walk over to Micayla’s house however, the siblings got into an argument and Joshua decided to walk back home, leaving Lindsey to go to her friend’s house alone. Upon arriving at Micayla’s house, the two friends played together for a few hours before asking Micayla’s mother if Lindsey could sleepover that evening, but she refused. Lindsey was left to make the ten minute journey home alone at approximately 9.15pm.
When it was 10pm, which was Lindsey’s curfew and she had still not returned home, Melissa began to worry. It was now beginning to get dark, and as Lindsey was afraid of the dark it was very unusual that she would be outside alone voluntarily. Melissa rang Micayla’s mother who told her that Lindsey had headed home almost an hour previously. Melissa rang her daughter’s mobile phone, but unfortunately Lindsey had left it on a charger at home. At around 10.45pm, Melissa rang the local law enforcement and reported her daughter missing. Immediately the search for the missing 10 year old girl began, and within days the FBI Seattle office is involved. Searches included those on the ground, in the water and in the air, alongside search dogs. Although the extensive search for Lindsey lasted for 10 days, there was no trace of her found. It was as though she had simply vanished - the search dogs could not find any scent of her. Lindsey’s case gained widespread media attention, but despite this, law enforcement had no leads.
Strange Events Prior to Lindsey's Disappearance
There were two incidents which occurred in the week prior to Lindsey’s disappearance which piqued the interest of law enforcement. Lindsey and her friend had been riding their bikes at the local park when they stopped to use the public restrooms. They told their families that a man walked in on them in the bathroom. He did not speak to the girls, and left quickly on his bike, but the friends thought this behaviour was strange enough to tell their families about it. The second and much more chilling incident is that Lindsey and her friend reported that they thought a man in a white vehicle had been following them. On the night that Lindsey vanished, law enforcement recovered surveillance video footage of the local gas station, in which a white vehicle matching the description given by Lindsey and her friend previously can be shown. However, law enforcement were unable to connect this vehicle any further with their investigation and this lead quickly dried up.
Lindsey Baum's missing child poster.
Following the initial investigation into Lindsey’s disappearance, law enforcement stated that they had identified a total of forty persons of interest. Many of the identified individuals were quickly ruled out by police until two remained. The first was a man who was staying in Maple Street on the night that Lindsey went missing. As seen on the map below, Maple Street was one of the blocks that Lindsey would have walked through whilst on her way home, and it is the last location that a neighbour placed her at. Law enforcement have refused to publicly name this individual, who claimed that he did not know the missing child and he did not leave the house on the evening of 26 June 2009. The details around this individual are not well known as law enforcement have understandably wished to keep certain details private, but it has been widely reported that the man’s account of that evening was falsified, although in what sense remains to be known.
Map showing Lindsey's route home.
The second person of interest was identified as Tim Hartman, a local man who lived in McCleary. Hartman owned a jewellery store on Forth Street, near where Lindsey lived. When questioned by law enforcement about his whereabouts on the evening of 26 June 2009, he denied that he was in town that night. He told law enforcement that he was attending training out of town and was later on ambulance call as a volunteer EMT around the time that Lindsey vanished. However, when searching through video surveillance of local stores, law enforcement were surprised to see Tim Hartman making a purchase in a store in McCleary before 9.30pm. When the footage was shown to Tim, he told law enforcement that he did not intentionally mislead them, but that he must have arrived back home earlier than he had thought. In fact, Tim had actually helped Melissa search for Lindsey that evening, but claimed that he had no involvement in or information about her disappearance. Police searched his home but found nothing which lead to his arrest. Tim Hartman initially cooperated with law enforcement, but now refuses to answer any further questions. He remains a person of interest in the investigation.
The investigation appeared to go cold until September 2017. Two hunters were in the woods of eastern Washington when they discovered what appeared to be a human skull. The skeletal remains were found hundreds of miles from where Lindsey went missing, and because of the different police jurisdictions, there was a lack of communication and the two forces did not work together. As a result of this, the remains were not deemed to be of the missing McCleary child. The results of the DNA were not pushed through as urgent as they were not believed to be a match to Lindsey. It was not until May 2018 that the skeletal remains found in the woods were confirmed to be Lindsey’s.
Law enforcement quickly ruled that Lindsey was not a runaway - she had no money or her phone with her when she disappeared, and she was afraid of the dark, often telling her mother she did not want to be outside when it was the ‘witching hour’. It was determined almost immediately that foul play was involved in her disappearance. Therefore, the first theory that the FBI investigated was a familial abduction. As I have mentioned in previous posts, stranger abductions are very rare, and as her parents had recently split up and gone through what was by all accounts rather acrimonious divorce proceedings, the first port of call for investigators was to confirm the whereabouts of Lindsey’s biological father on 26 June 2009. However, Lindsey’s father was across the country in a different state at the time, and was able to provide an alibi which law enforcement later confirmed.
In 2017, three elderly brothers were arrested for possession of child pornography and on counts of sexual abuse. The three individuals were Charles Emery, who was 82 years old at the time of his arrest, Thomas Emery who was 80, and Edwin Emery who was 78. The brothers lived together in a small town approximately 30 minutes from where Lindsey vanished. Upon their arrest, law enforcement made a gruesome discovery at their property, which lead to all three brothers becoming suspects in Lindsey’s case. The house contained many children’s toys, clothes, shoes and multiple items of child pornography. Law enforcement also recovered masses of newspaper clippings which detailed stories of missing and murdered young girls. The brothers appeared to collect items detailing Satanic rituals. Upon searching the property, the most heartbreaking find was the recovery of Lindsey’s missing persons flier which had been distributed in the days following her disappearance. Child molesters are known to law enforcement to ‘shop’ for victims by collecting missing child posters and contacting paedophile rings who may be holding the child hostage. The discovery of the flier was a crucial piece of evidence for law enforcement, but unfortunately no concrete evidence was obtained which would link the brothers to Lindsey’s murder.
Honestly, I am not sure that I believe the three brothers were responsible for abducting Lindsey. In 2009 they would have been elderly men, and unless Lindsey knew the siblings I find it difficult to believe she would get into a vehicle with them, nor do I think that they would have been capable of lifting her into a car without a witness seeing something. Obviously the three brothers are guilty of heinous acts against children, and the flier found at their house ultimately raises suspicions, but I believe law enforcement would have found evidence of Lindsey in the property if they had abducted her and kept her there.
Although it is very strange that Tim Hartman’s version of the events on 26 June 2009 appear to be inconsistent, I do not believe that he is responsible for Lindsey’s murder. Law enforcement questioned him many times, and I think that if there was any evidence at his home which would lead to an arrest in this case it would have been discovered by now. I also do not place much weight on the fact that he no longer cooperates with law enforcement - if he has provided all of the information which he has about the case, it is not necessary to subject yourself to repeat questioning. I do not think his decision to be interviewed again makes him guilty. As I have mentioned in previous posts, one remains a person of interest if they can not be ruled as a suspect nor can they be disregarded. Until strong evidence is discovered which either exonerates him of any wrongdoing in this case, or leads to the arrest of another individual, he will remain a person of interest.
Sadly, I think Lindsey was preyed upon by the man who walked in on her and her friend in the bathroom, and was following them in the days prior to her disappearance. I think a male abducted Lindsey by calling her over to the car and perhaps luring her in. He may have lied to her and said he was a friend of someone she knew, or a parent at the school, and because he knew information about her such as her name, or said he recognised her, she may have trusted him. I think the discovery of her body such a long distance from where she was last seen alive suggests that the perpetrator was not from the area. The gas station which Linsey would walk past leads to a very busy highway out of McCleary, which appears logical to me that this was a quick escape for the perpetrator. I think he killed her shortly after abducting her, and disposed of her body far away, which he knew would mean it would be several years before she was found. I believe that this same perpetrator may be responsible for similar child murders across America.
All of the cases I write about are heartbreaking, particularly those that involve children and young persons who have their whole lives ahead of them, but this case in particular really moved me. I think it is Lindsey’s own haunting premonition that less than 24 hours before she disappeared that something bad would happen to her which really upsets me. Why did she think something evil was going to happen? Was something threatening her or stalking her? Had she been approached by a strange individual who had scared her? I often think about her mother, and how I am sure she wishes that she had pressed Lindsey on what she meant when she said she thought something bad was going to happen to her. My only hope is that one day Lindsey’s family will be given the answer as to who murdered the bright and happy 10 year old girl who had big dreams to become an author. I hope the answer brings her family some sense of closure and justice.
If you have any information about the disappearance and murder of Lindsey Baum, no matter how small, please contact 360-964-1799 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.