FindCarrie - AGH - Missing & Murdered Person Blog

Information on missing and murdered people and the issues surrounding their cases. ***No material on this site is to be redistributed or rewritten - Copyright Find Carrie Culberson***

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Little Girl Lost - The Disappearance of Erica Baker

It was February 7, 1999, in Kettering Ohio, when Erica Baker asked her mother if she could take the family dog for a walk. Erica put on her pink rain coat and sat out walking around 3:30 p.m. that afternoon. Around 5, Erica’s mother became concerned that Erica had not returned. It was unlike Erica to stay gone this long.

As the family began searching the park for Erica, where they’d find Erica’s dog wandering around with his leash without Erica.

Police and hundreds of volunteers began combing the area for Erica Baker, but to no avail, she had vanished without a trace. Days would turn into months and still no sign of Erica. Her family was devastated and needed answers.

Erica’s family would take polygraph tests to clear themselves in any involvement in Erica’s disappearance. Still there was someone out there who k new Erica’s whereabouts. Tips came into the police department of possible suspects, one of which seemed to be of particular interest. The caller claimed that a known drug dealer Jan Marie Franks and another man, were high on drugs and accidentally hit Erica Baker as she walked on Feb. 7, 1999, killing her. The caller claimed that in a panic, the occupants of the van put Erica into the van and drove to an undisclosed location where they buried her body.

Jan Marie Franks’ attorney Beth Lewis apparently was told some vital information regarding the events of the day Erica vanished, just before Franks died. The attorney, a mother herself, refused to give any information given by her client, now deceased to help find Erica. This came after Jan Marie Franks’ husband waived the right to reveal. Lewis claimed that she would be breaking attorney client privilege, which outraged the community and Erica’s family. With the client now deceased, there was nobody to betray.

Just last year (2005), three days before the statute of limitations on the offenses would have expired, Christian John Gabriel was indicted for evidence tampering and gross abuse a corpse in connection with Erica's case. He was the driver of the van the day it struck and killed Erica Baker. The indictment also stated that Gabriel then took Erica Baker someplace and buried her remains. Gabriel would confess to police and lead them on what would later be called a wild goose chase of where Erica was buried. Each search turned up empty. He would later tell police that he fabricated the whole story. Gabriel was later sentenced to serve six years for evidence tampering and gross abuse of a corpse.

In early 2006, the attorney for Jan Marie Franks was called by the grand jury to give all the information she has regarding what her client told her about Erica Baker’s disappearance. This is something that helps bring some hope of finding Erica.

Erica's family has been supported by Debra Culberson (Carrie's Mom). Debra has attended several meetings and vigils with Erica's family. Kettering, Ohio, known to many as Dayton Ohio is very close to Culberson's home in Blanchester, Ohio. Both families are very strong and will not give up the search for their loved one.

While Erica’s family was forced to realize that Erica would never return home alive, they can find some comfort in knowing that the person who ended Erica’s life that day is being made to pay for his actions although it was an accident. All they really want to do is bring Erica back home. No family should have to wonder what happened to their child and not be allowed answers when they are clearly out there, but being withheld.

Additional Links:

Lawyer must testify about Erica Baker
Erica Baker Website


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