Lindsey Baum missing four years

Lindsey Baum vanished from the town of McCleary, Washington (pop. 1,600 and change) four years ago today. Like so many other missing children, she was last seen walking home from a friend’s house. She was ten years old. Lindsey, if she is still alive, will turn fifteen in a little less than two weeks. The NCMEC just came up with an age-progression for her, which I plan to post next update.

Lindsey Baum missing one year today

Today it has been one year since ten-year-old Lindsey Baum disappeared while walking home from a friend’s house in McCleary, Washington. Hopefully there will not be a second anniversary.

There is a good article about the anniversary, mostly an interview with Lindsey’s mom Melissa, whose troubles I have written about before. She is now staying with her sister in Olympia, Washington.

The police say they are seeking two possible witnesses in Lindsey’s disappearance, a man and a boy who were captured on a surveillance tape inside a gas station along Lindsey’s route home.

Lindsey Baum’s mom now homeless

Earlier I wrote that the mother of Lindsey Baum, a ten-year-old girl who’s been missing for nearly a year, had been unable to work since her daughter’s disappearance and had had to move in with relatives cause she couldn’t afford rent anymore. Well, Melissa Baum’s problems have only got worse. Her son has Asperger’s Syndrome and the stress of Lindsey’s disappearance made his behavior problems worse, so their relatives kicked them out. Melissa is now pretty much homeless. Her only income is her son’s Social Security payments. She can’t afford to pay for the hotel she’s staying in, although a charity has agreed to cover the room for another two weeks. She’s going to send him to live with his father for awhile while she tries to find a job and a better living situation.

This is a terrible situation. There are no government programs to address this sort of problem. I can only hope the local community hears of the Baum family’s plight and chips in, like people did for Shasta Groene and her family.

Lindsey Baum’s mom facing serious financial problems

I just read this article saying missing ten-year-old Lindsey Baum‘s mother, Melissa, is broke with no signs of that changing. Melissa apparently hasn’t worked since Lindsey disappeared last June. She took some months of unpaid leave, then asked to return to work, but only part time. She got fired instead, and applied for unemployment. She got some compensation, but now for some reason the state wants most of it back.

Meanwhile, Melissa can’t afford the rent and she and her son, Lindsey’s brother, have moved out of their former home and in with relatives. She says she can’t return to work full time because she still needs to search for Lindsey, and also her son has Asperger’s Syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder.

Melissa says the system just isn’t designed to help parents whose children are missing.

“It’s a situation that I have no control over. But at the same time, it’s not something they have precedence for. They have to go by the laws,” she said.

I have often read of parents of missing children taking substantial time off work, years sometimes, both to help with the search and because their nerves are shattered. Melissa says as much: “I was not even conscious for the first two or three weeks even. I was pretty well medicated,” she said. But everyone must eat, and bills must be paid, whether your kid is missing or not. Plus, left-behind parents want to do things like hire private detectives, and that costs money too. I wouldn’t be surprised if many families of the missing fall into financial ruin as a result.

As I noted in the comments section of an earlier entry, Jaycee Dugard’s family is broke too, and living on charity. Apparently she was paid little or nothing for the few media appearances she made, and the state will only give her $2,000 compensation.

Lindsey Baum and a million girls like her

Today I wrote up the case of ten-year-old Lindsey Jo Baum, who disappeared from McCleary, Washington exactly six months ago, on June 26. I hope to post her case on Charley later today. From all accounts she was an ordinary little girl. She liked reading and the movie Twilight and she wanted to be a veterinarian or a writer when she grew up. She lived with her divorced mother and older brother in a small suburban town. And she vanished. No one really seems to have much on her — she was just gone, less than two weeks before her eleventh birthday.

I think ten to fourteen is a pretty vulnerable time for kids, especially girls. At that age parents are starting to give them more freedom (such as the freedom to walk home from a friend’s house at night, as Lindsey was doing when she disappeared), and they think themselves very grown-up. But they’re still pretty naive at that age, testing their wings. A predatory adult could easily take advantage of them. There must be scores of Lindseys on my website. I can think of twenty or so right now, starting with Connie Smith and Beverly Potts almost sixty years ago. Ordinary girls, ordinary lives — in all likelihood, just in the wrong place at the wrong time.