Lindsey Baum's body was found in 2018, nine years after she vanished

By Chris Harris
June 18, 2021 11:21 AM
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Lindsey Baum
| Credit: Facebook

This week, authorities in Washington state are investigating whether a 50-year-old man, accused in a 2003 kidnapping and rape, could have also been involved in the disappearance and murder of 10-year-old Lindsey Baum six years later.

The Grays Harbor Sheriff's Office said Paul Bieker was arrested Tuesday and charged with rape, kidnapping, burglary, felony harassment, and taking a motor vehicle without permission in relation to the 2003 cold case involving a 17-year-old girl.

The Olympian reported Bieker entered not guilty pleas to all five counts, while the sheriff's office says it's also looking into the possibility the suspect was also involved in Baum's killing.

Baum vanished without a trace on June 26, 2009, just blocks from her home, while she was out for a walk alone.

The young girl's remains were finally found in the spring of 2018, deep in a woods in Kittitas County, 85 miles east of Seattle.

Grays Harbor County Sheriff Rick Scott told PEOPLE at the time that investigators would remain involved "until we bring the monster that's responsible for this and hold them accountable."

Bieker was living in McCleary, Wash., when the sheriff's office arrested him after DNA evidence linked him to the 2003 abduction and sexual assault of the 17-year-old girl.

"A 17-year-old female was abducted when she returned home to her residence in her vehicle," reads the statement on Bieker's arrest. "The suspect bound the female and loaded her into her own vehicle. The female was taken to an undisclosed location and sexually assaulted."

The statement said that "after sexually assaulting the female, the suspect drove her to a location near McCleary and left her in the vehicle."

The statement adds: "The victim was able to free herself and she returned to her residence where the kidnapping and assault were reported to her father, who immediately called 911 to report the crimes."

The girl was taken to a hospital for examination, and evidence was collected from her body.

"A DNA profile was eventually obtained for the suspect in the sexual assault," the statement continues. "Although an exhaustive investigation was conducted, investigators were not able to identify a suspect. The suspect's DNA profile was entered into the nationwide criminal database and it was not linked to a known person in the database."

Late last year, the same DNA evidence was submitted for genealogy testing and the results "revealed a short list of possible suspects that were believed to be related to the source of the suspect DNA," the police statement says.

Detectives learned that in 2003, Bieker had lived "at a residence not far from the victim's residence" in McCleary.

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"They also were able to identify more circumstantial evidence that linked Bieker to the crime," investigators allege in their statement.

Eventually, The Olympian reports that investigators recovered Bieker's DNA from two cups he had discarded from his car while under surveillance. The DNA lifted from the cups matched DNA that was found on the teenage rape victim.

Now, Bieker is under investigation for Baum's abduction and killing, as well.

"Due to the nature and circumstances of the crime, investigators are also looking into the kidnapping and murder case of Lindsey Baum, who went missing on June 26th, 2009, in the city of McCleary," the statement declares.

At this time, Bieker has not been formally charged with any crime stemming from Baum's disappearance and murder.

Bieker's attorney was unavailable for comment Friday.

Authorities have asked that anyone with any information pertinent to either case call the Lindsey Baum Tip Line at (360) 964-1799. Tips can also be emailed to the sheriff's office.