Washington State Cold Case investigators used a genealogical database to identify a suspect wanted for kidnapping and rape in 2003, and now believe the man may be linked to an unauthorized kidnapping and murder. resolutions that have upset the authorities for more than a decade.
Paul James Bieker, 50, was arrested on Tuesday for the 2003 attack, said Grays Harbor County Deputy Sheriff Brad Johansson, adding that detectives are now investigating whether Bieker could also be responsible for the disappearance. and the 2009 murder of 10-year-old Lindsey Baum.
“We obviously have raised eyebrows because of the similarities,” Johansson told The Daily Beast. “We’re a fairly rural area in a small town and the fact that you have two kidnappings in the same area over a six-year period is cause for concern. We are carefully reviewing the Lindsey Baum case to see if he might be a person of interest in this case as well. “
FBI Arrests Murdered ‘Little Zion’ Mother at Denver Hotel
In March 2003, a 17-year-old girl was abducted as she parked in her driveway in McCleary, Wash., A small forest town of 1,600 people. The suspect returned the victim, who has never been publicly identified, to his own vehicle and took her to an undisclosed location. There, the suspect sexually assaulted the teenager, drove her back to McCleary and left her in the car. The young girl was able to free herself and return home, where she told her father what had happened. He called 911, investigators gathered evidence and collected a DNA sample from the assailant.
Cops entered the DNA profile into a national criminal database, but failed to identify a match. In 2010, the Grays Harbor District Attorney’s Office used the profile to obtain what Johansson called a “John Doe warrant” for the unknown suspect.
“We did it so that the statute of limitations did not expire,” Johansson explained.
In December 2020, Deputy Chief of the Sheriff’s Office at Grays Harbor, Darrin Wallace, submitted the alleged attacker’s DNA to a genealogy lab. Further testing led to a shortlist of people who could be related to the suspect, and investigators then focused on Paul Bieker, who in 2003 had lived in McCleary, a short distance from the victim’s home.
Wallace and det. Sgt. Paul Logan followed Bieker and was able to obtain his DNA from a “discarded item,” which authorities said was linked by the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab to the 2003 sexual assault suspect.
Bieker was arrested on June 15 and held in Grays Harbor County Jail on Tuesday, according to the county jail list.
Now the police are looking into Lindsey Baum’s murder to see if Bieker could be their man.
On June 26, 2009, Baum, who was about to turn 11, disappeared to McCleary on his way home from a friend’s house. The case sparked a nationwide search for the girl, whose body would not be discovered for another eight years.
In September 2017, a group of hunters in remote Ellensburg, Washington, found human remains in an uninhabited area and called police. The FBI was brought in to help, and the office crime lab identified the remains as Baum’s.
Police followed a number of leads, and at one point, three older Seattle brothers were in the crosshairs as suspects, but none ultimately came to fruition. With Bieker’s arrest, they have a new lead to follow, Johansson said.
“Investigators are going to look into the Lindsey Baum case – it’s huge, it’s just a massive case, there’s a ton of information they have to sort through, compare notes, track where [Bieker] could have been and if he was involved, ”Johansson said.
“We also hope this might spark some interest in the community to share information with us about what they might know. Anyone know something about the Lindsey Baum case. So we’re just looking for that person that might ring a bell, whether it’s in relation to Mr Bieker or someone else.
Learn more about The Daily Beast.
Get our best stories delivered to your inbox every day. Register now!
Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside delves deeper into the stories that matter to you. Learn more.