MCCLEARY, WA - The mother of a murdered 10-year-old is speaking out on about a longtime dispute centered around a banner about the unsolved kidnapping and murder of Lindsey Baum.
“Lindsey Baum was kidnapped from Mccleary, Washington and she was murdered and dumped in the woods like trash three hours from home, that happened, nothing can change that,” said Linsey’s mother, Melissa Baum.
Nothing can change the horror of what happened here, but whether or not a reminder can stay up is now in dispute.
At a recent Mccleary city council meeting, the majority of council members requested a large banner about Linsey’s case be taken down, with Mayor Brenda Orffer saying it was hung up in the park without approval from the city.
In a statement, Mayor Orffer said "After hearing concerns and being asked if the banner could be removed from the park, attempts to determine who had hung it up were made but not successful. We wanted to notify whomever had placed it there of our code and request that it be removed. When we could not determine who or which organization had hung it up, a majority of council members requested at the August 12 meeting that it be taken down. The banner was removed the following day by city staff. "
“I don’t even know what there is to say because I’m having a problem understanding what the real problem is here,” said Baum.
She says a city ordinance and needing permission for the banner was never an issue until a couple of years ago, and believes that’s just a cop-out.
Back in 2018, according to city council documents, Mayor Orffer discussed requests she’d gotten from community members to have the banners taken down because they’re “offensive to some people and children.” Two former councilmembers agreed to removal because “they keep the community living in the past.”
“They talk about my banners being offensive what about my murdered little girl? Am I the only one offended by a murdered 10-year-old?” said Baum.
The banner was taken down in 2018, but this past June, on the anniversary of Lindsey’s kidnapping, it was put back up. The city removed it on August 13th, but last week, someone hung it back up, again.
While the mayor said the reason for removal was due to a city ordinance, she tells us people have expressed concerns about the banner, stating “the memorial site is a beautiful with a butterfly bench, a photo, and a lovely tribute to Lindsey, the banner is a stark contrast.”
Melissa says she wouldn’t have
“I'm not still in Grays Harbor because I want to be, god no, I won't be as far away from here as possible. But if I’m not here to fight for Lindsey who’s going do it? Because I sure can’t trust the city it happened in. So I’m stuck here, in hell, like an animal trapped in a cage," said Baum.
She said she wishes more than anything there was no need for the banner. But until the case is solved, she wants them up.
“She was on this earth alive less time than she’s been gone and I have no answers, I have no justice, and until I get it, I’m right here, I’m not going away, I’m not going to stop, and you’re going keep seeing her banners everywhere I can put one until the murderer or murderers are brought to justice," said Baum.
Mayor Orffer said Baum has retained legal counsel, and cannot say what will happen with the banner until city officials speak with them. She says the city continues to express its sympathy for Lindsey’s loved ones.
There’s a gofundme for more banners, which some residents are volunteering to put up in their yards. As always, if you have any information on Lindsey’s case, you're asked to contact Private Investigator Rose Winquist at (206)-229-5055, or the Grays Harbor County Sheriff (360)-249-3711. There is currently a $35,000 reward.
Q13 News reached out to each Mccleary City Council member for comment on removing the sign. Councilmember Jenna Amsbury responded with this statement:
"I appreciate seeing all the comments regarding the issue of removal of signage from the park and police station. I would like to state that there was not a vote on the issue to remove the signage, it was discussed at two meetings, but I did not speak at all when the topic was brought forward. I like to do my research and think on things before speaking or making a decision on a new topic and this was not an agenda item I was aware of in advance. Audio recordings are available of meetings by request if there is interest. This is my first year on the council and I am not aware of past issues in regards to the signage and memorial. I am happy to hear from the community on these issues and I believe in transparency and open government. I encourage citizen involvement and public comment at meetings. I am also happy to speak with people that would like to reach out to me. My city email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. As a mother I cannot imagine the pain this family is going through and my heart goes out to them. It is not my intention to bury this topic. I would like to find a community balance so as to allow all citizens to have their voice heard and also be respectful and communicative through the process. Thank you."