MCCLEARY, Wash. - The first anniversary of Lindsey Baum's disappearance is nearing. Crews are meticulously picking through different forested areas around McCleary this weekend, using new tactics to find evidence of her or her captor. Shoulder to shoulder, volunteers wield rakes, picks, even machetes. They're looking for anything that shouldn't naturally be there.
"This is probably the hardest part of the searching part for evidence, especially when you have to go through all the brush as these folks," said volunteer crew boss Doyle Wenzel. "Its amazing what you can find out in the forest that people have discarded. We found a safe earlier this morning, clothing, blankets, gloves.... "
Wenzel marks and categorizes every bit of potential evidence. This weekend's hunt through the brush around the Grays Harbor town of McCleary is a combination of old and new: Volunteers use old-fashioned hand tools to search out areas defined by new technology. Analysts sitting in offices have cross referenced computerized tips, GPS images and reports to narrow down the search field.
The lack off any solid evidence surrounding Baum's disappearance last June at least leaves hope that she might still be living. Yet, cadaver trained dogs also join the hunt for clues.
"In these types of situations, we have to look at both sides of the spectrum, " said Detective Ed McGowan with the Grays Harbor Sheriff's Department.
Just this week investigators released the only home video known to exist of then 10-year-old Lindsey. It was taken months before she walked home from a friend's house in June 2009 and was never seen again. Meanwhile, detectives still hope to find the two men shown in surveillance video taken the night she disappeared. They may have unknowingly witnessed something suspicious.
The search through the forest continues through Sunday. More than 70 volunteers, representing at least five different agencies, are hoping their investment of time and work will ultimately pay off.
"That one little piece of evidence we find today, may lead us to solving the case," said McGowan.
Both Grays Harbor and the FBI have dedicated detectives assigned to this case. They will next analyze any evidence discovered in the forest.