Police probe conflicting alibis in Baum case

Police probe conflicting alibis in Baum case »Play Video
Lindsey J. Baum
MCCLEARY, Wash. -- A man's conflicting stories to acquaintances were among the factors that led to the issuance of a search warrant in the Lindsey Baum case, according to an affidavit in support of the warrant obtained by KOMO News.

The court documents identify as a person of interest a man connected to the properties searched last week.

Writing in the affidavit filed in Grays Harbor County Superior Court, a detective said he believed Lindsey had been kidnapped and that evidence would be found at the properties.

Lindsey disappeared the evening of June 26 while walking home from a friend's house in the small mill town of McCleary.

According to the affidavit, a person contacted investigators more than a month after the girl disappeared with information that led detectives to identify the man as a person of interest.

The tipster said the man always drove a distinctive car with a loud exhaust, and found it suspicious that the man stopped driving the vehicle after Lindsey disappeared.

Another person told detectives that they saw the vehicle near where Lindsey was last seen the night she vanished.

One person told police the man acted strangely after the night of Lindsey's disappearance and seemed to disappear himself.

"(The person said) that his behavior had changed since the day of the disappearance. He had not come around as much," said Sgt. Steve Shumate with the Grays Harbor Sheriff's Office.

But what really sparked the detective's interest is what the young man allegedly told his girlfriend the day after Lindsey disappeared.

"(He) told her he could not believe that a girl had been taken and cut up and dismembered," according to the search warrant.

At that point, however, even detectives didn't believe Lindsey had been a victim of a crime.

"The media and investigators did not believe that Baum was a victim of a crime until the week following her disappearance," the document said.

"For somebody to make a statement of that nature the following day of this disappearance, it is very unusual," Shumate said.

Detectives have not found any evidence to indicate the missing girl is no longer alive.

According to the court document, detectives have received multiple conflicting statements about where the person of interest was on the night of June 26.

Investigators wrote that the man told them he was working a second job at the time, but the business told detectives he hadn't
been there in weeks.

KOMO News is not naming the man since he has not been arrested.

The search warrants were served Sept. 25 at several properties in the McCleary area.

At one site, FBI investigators in protective clothing were probing an area near an old, abandoned house and large shed about one mile southwest of McCleary.

Among the Items seized were two sex toys, several used condoms, a bag of children's clothing, computers, bed sheets, blankets, and a newspaper with a story about Lindsey.

Anxious mother, searchers not giving up hope

Back at search headquarters, waiting is torture for Lindsey's mother, Melissa Baum. But on Friday, Melissa was hopeful after learning police have a person of interest.

"I'm hoping they'll find her and give her back," she said.

Three months and one week after her 11-year-old daughter vanished on her walk home, locals are determined not to let up on the hunt for clues.

"It could happen to anyone, and (I) hope they'd be there for me, too," said Rebecca Watts.

Volunteers from all over the region, from Packwood to Seattle have joined in the search. Jen Page is a mother who drove 90 miles to help look for Lindsey.

"I can easily imagine how how hard it is, and this is the least I can do," she said.

Searchers plan to continue looking for the missing girl throughout the weekend.

Some staff members of "The Oprah Show" met with Melissa Baum on Friday, but it is not yet known for certain whether the case will receive national coverage.