KETTERING, Ohio (WDTN) – A search for Erica Baker, a 9-year-old Kettering girl who went missing 22 years ago, came up empty handed Saturday, but the search team and her father have not given up hope.
Professional search team EquuSearch Midwest spent Saturday looking for remains of Erica’s body in the area of the Huffman Dam.
EquuSearch Midwest Director David Rader said the search involves piecing together what the landscape would have looked like when Erica disappeared in 1999.
“It’s been 22 years and we’re taking a different approach this time,” Rader said.
Rader said they went through the area with a fine-toothed comb, using heavy machinery, ground-penetrating radar, drones and 15 searchers on foot.
He said after two decades, a search like this is challenging because of weather, flooding and changes to the landscape.
“You’re looking for small fragments at this point in time, that’s where we are,” Rader said. “It’s not like you’re looking for something whole. You literally have to really watch what you’re looking at.”
No new tips led to this search, Rader said it’s always been an area of interest.
Erica’s father Greg Baker told 2NEWS he was glad to hear a team will continue the search for his daughter.
“When I found out that EquuSearch was going to join this little party of ours, that we were very excited about that. they are a very good group,” Baker said.
He said while many years have passed, each time a search happens, it brings back some hope.
“You’ve got new eyes, new ambition, and it could be, it could happen,” Baker said. “If that does, it would be beautiful, we could get her put to rest.”
Alongside EquuSearch Saturday was the current and former Kettering Police Department detective on Erica’s case.
“This is living proof after 22 years, we’re out here and they’re still working the case,” Rader said. “That’s proof they have not given up on this.”
Rader said the search team plans to work with the Kettering Police Department to gather photos and piece together the landscape in other areas of interest.