The mother of a girl whose remains were discovered nearly a decade after she disappeared just blocks away from her Washington state home has vowed to find the "monster" that killed her daughter.
Lindsey Baum was just 10 years old when she vanished while walking home from a nearby friend's house in McCleary on June 26, 2009.
Her remains were found in a remote area of eastern Washington in September 2017 and positively identified last month.
"There’s a monster out there who stole my 10-year-old little girl, killed her and dumped her like she was trash," Lindsey’s mother, Melissa Baum, said during a press conference Thursday. "The people who did this to Lindsey need to be punished."
Speaking out for the first time since her daughter's disappearance, Baum shared the grim reality she has lived with for nine years.
"Monsters do exist," she said. "When you tell your kids they don’t, you're lying to them."
Baum praised law enforcement, including Grays Harbor County Sheriff Rick Scott and his deputies, the FBI and their investigators and the McCleary Police Department for their efforts to find Lindsey.
"I want to also thank anyone who ever just said a prayer for my little 10-year-old girl," Baum said.
After hunters discovered Lindsey’s remains last fall, several law enforcement agencies searched the remote, rugged and wooded area in their search for her killer. More than 7,500 hours have been spent searching the site for evidence, officials said.
Authorities believe Lindsey’s killer or killers would have been familiar with that region of Kittitas County. The dense landscape is popular among elk and deer hunters, hikers, skiers and snowmobilers.
On Thursday, investigators distributed a new flier asking for the public’s help in identifying witnesses.
"This is a very solvable case," Scott told reporters. "You might think of something that seems insignificant to you but may be important to us."
Anyone with any information about the disappearance and of Lindsey Baum is asked to call 360-964-1799 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.