KETTERING, Ohio (WDTN) – A professionally trained search team will be in the Miami Valley this weekend to look for the body of Erica Baker, the Kettering nine-year-old who went missing in 1999. EquuSearch Midwest will bring in sophisticated search equipment and a professionally trained crew to search the area near Huffman Dam Saturday.
They’ll be joined by the Kettering police detective who’s currently leading the case, and the retired detective who first tackled the case 22 years ago.
Dave Rader of EquuSearch Midwest says, “It’s amazing how PD, the police department and the investigators, they don’t give up.” Even after 22 years.
Kettering police officer Joe Ferrell says a case as old as Erica Baker’s doesn’t typically get a lot of new leads. But it’s never closed, and it’s always on their minds. “It’s pretty amazing, and I just hope it’s going to lead to one day a good solid answer as far as where Erica is.”
EquuSearch Midwest will search near Huffman Dam on the Mad River. It’s been checked in the past, but new technology could uncover what was previously missed. Rader says, “It’s incredible the technology we have at our fingertips. From ground-penetrating radar to high-tech drones that can actually determine if a piece of ground has been disturbed.” But Rader says the search will still require a lot of physical effort, and the trained team will need to be delicate.
2 NEWS has spoken with Erica Baker’s father Greg many times over the past 22 years. On the phone Monday Greg said he still holds out hope Erica will be found but doesn’t know if he’ll react if it does happen. “The family has been through a huge emotional roller coaster. And there comes a point and time where you kind of get hardened to the situation.”
In the meantime, Greg holds on to his children and grandchildren, and their memories of Erica. “She’s not ever going away, regardless of the outcome of the situation.”