MCCLEARY, Wash. -- Melissa Baum spoke to the media Thursday for the first time since investigators linked the discovery of human remains to her daughter, who vanished nearly a decade ago.
"The fact is a monster stole my 10-year-old little girl and they murdered her," Baum said. "And they dumped her like trash in the woods. So my fight now has turned from looking for my daughter to finding who killed her."
Authorities say Lindsey Baum vanished nearly nine years ago from her hometown of McCleary, a small town west of Olympia. The girl was last seen the night of June 26, 2009, when she left a friend's home. She was going to walk the four blocks to her house but never arrived.
Numerous searches took place in the hours and days after she vanished, and bloodhounds were brought in, but no sign of her was ever found. Her case attracted national attention in the aftermath of her disappearance.
Nearly a decade later, investigators said Baum's remains had been found in Eastern Washington. Grays Harbor County Sheriff Rick Scott the remains were found by hunters last September.
The remains were then sent to FBI headquarters in Quantico, Virginia, for analysis. Months later, authorities learned the DNA matched Lindsey Baum.
"As long as there are monsters like this out on the street, none of our children are safe," Baum said.
No arrests have been made. Scott said detectives are doing everything they can to find out who was responsible for Lindsey's death.
Baum made an emotional plea for the public to send in any tips that could help bring justice for Lindsey.
"I urge anyone who has information or knowledge of any kind to please come forward. We need justice. The people who did this to Lindsey deserve to be punished. And the children still out there -- your children -- deserve to be safe," Baum said.
"This person is a monster and I grew up teaching my children that monsters didn't exist. So now when you're telling your children monsters don't exist, you're lying. Just keep that in mind. And they don't look like monsters, they look like your next door neighbor. They look like the person who lives down the street or the person who works in your school."