On June 26, 2009 at around 9:30pm, 10-year-old Lindsey Baum left a friend's house in McCleary, Wash., to walk home alone after the friend's mother said no to a sleepover. It was the last time she was seen alive. Police say the case has become a homicide investigation with the discovery of Lindsey's body in a remote area on the other side of the state, People reports. Grays Harbor County Sheriff Rick Scott said Thursday that the girl's body was found by hunters in eastern Washington last fall, but confirmation of the identity only came back from the FBI crime lab recently. "We’ve brought Lindsey home. We've recovered her," he said. Lindsey's mom reported her missing 30 minutes after she was supposed to get home, but a huge search effort in the following days found no trace of her.
Lindsey's parents are "understandably devastated," said Scott, who promised investigators would stay involved with the case "until we bring the monster that's responsible for this and hold them accountable." "The prayers and hopes of the family were that we would some day find her alive and bring her home. Now, the reality is we need to find a homicide suspect," he said, per the Seattle Times. The sheriff firmly declined to answer questions on the cause of death, the location of the body, and potential suspects, saying he needed to protect the integrity of the investigation, reports the Chinook Observer. "A monster is still out there," said Grays Harbor County Commissioner Vickie Raines. "It is a very sad day, certainly not the outcome we’ve been hoping for." (Read more missing child stories.)