Missing in the Miami Valley: Erica Baker

Published: Monday, February 13, 2017 @ 5:26 PM

FILE: Crews search for Erica Baker's remains in 2008

For the past 18 years, the disappearance of Erica Baker has been the Miami Valley's biggest mysteries.

"It's a mystery maybe to some people but it's our job to find her and we want to bring her home," said Sgt. Bob Greene, of the Kettering Police Department. "It's about a little girl. a little girl who was taken from her family at the age of 9. It's a tragedy."

TIMELINE: What has happened in the Erica Baker case since 1999?

Greene, and now cold case detective Vincent Mason, are working what they call an open and active case. 
"We're interested in recovering her remains. We don't know if there's enough evidence for a serious charge or not. But it's been 18 years and it's time to bring her home. It's past time to bring her home, " Greene said.

INTERACTIVE: Miami Valley Murder Mysteries

Christian Gabriel served 6 years in prison after he confessed to driving a van that struck Erica near the intersection of Glengarry Drive and Powhattan in Kettering. Both he and his passenger, Jan Franks, had criminal backgrounds so instead of calling for help, Gabriel said he put Erica inside the van and took off. Even after serving his time and getting out of prison in 2011, Gabriel refuses to say what he did with Erica and Jan Franks is deceased.

"He knows exactly where she is," said Sgt. Greene. "So he's the one who needs to come forward and tell us where she's at."

This is why Erica's brother is breaking his 18-year silence and speaking out about the man who holds the key to finding his sister.

"He's a coward. He needs to step up. He wants to pretend like he's a man but he needs to be a man and do the right thing," said Jason Baker.

Baker is one of Erica's three older brothers who want to bring Erica home. 

PHOTOS: A look back at the Erica Baker case

"We want to know where Erica is. We want to know what happened and we want our closure," Baker said. 

Erica's mother, Misty Baker, says time is not healing this wound. 

"I'm not going to see her walk down the aisle. I'm not going to hold her children." said Misty. "Mr. Gabriel, just please, just for Erica's sake, tell us where she's at.

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Restaurant fire causes road closure in Dayton

Published: Saturday, February 24, 2018 @ 4:58 AM
Updated: Saturday, February 24, 2018 @ 5:16 AM

A neon sign caught fire outside of the restaurant at 865 North Main Street around 3:30 a.m., according to our first responder.

UPDATE @ 6:15 a.m.:

Crews are no longer at the scene of North Main Street at Miami Boulevard, according to regional dispatch.

INITIAL REPORT:

North Main Street at Miami Boulevard are closed after a small fire at Quincy’s Saturday.

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A neon sign caught fire outside of the restaurant at 865 North Main Street around 3:30 a.m., according to our first responder.

The road was closed as of 4:40 a.m. but crews were working on clearing the scene, according to a Dayton fire chief. 

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3 things to know about Dayton, Wright-Patt and drinking water

Published: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 10:03 AM

Dayton confronts two Mad River well field sites that face contamination threats from contaminants in firefighting foam. One is at the city’s fire training facility site off Springfield Street shown here, and the other is Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, city officials say. The Mad River, right, flows past the Dayton fire training facility. TY GREENLEES / STAFF
Dayton confronts two Mad River well field sites that face contamination threats from contaminants in firefighting foam. One is at the city’s fire training facility site off Springfield Street shown here, and the other is Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, city officials say. The Mad River, right, flows past the Dayton fire training facility. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

Dayton city leaders said this week they’re concerned about two potential threats to well fields along the Mad River from firefighting foam contaminants.

One potential source of contamination is at the city’s firefighting training center on McFadden near the Tait’s Hill well field. The other potential source of contamination is from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, where a tainted groundwater plume was believed to be approaching production wells at Huffman Dam, city and state officials say.

The contaminant is known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS.

The city shut down both well fields over the past two years as a precaution, Dayton officials said. The two well fields stand about three miles apart.

RELATED: Dayton urges communities to push Wright-Patt for action on water

State and city officials say the water is safe and the contaminant has not been found in finished product to consumers.

Here’s a look at key developments this week:

1. The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and Wright-Patterson officials say they did not know of the firefighting training center concerns until recent days. Among other actions, the state EPA this week directed Dayton to test treated water at its Ottawa treatment plant near the Mad River monthly for the contaminant beginning March 31, and to determine the source of the contamination. Late last year, the city detected PFAS at less than 10 parts per trillion in a raw water intake at the plant, officials said. The U.S. EPA has a health advisory threshold of 70 parts per trillion for lifetime exposure to drinking water.

RELATED: Dayton: Contaminated sites could pose risk to Mad River well fields

2. Dayton asked area city managers this month to co-sign a letter urging Wright-Patterson and the Air Force to act more quickly to resolve concerns a groundwater contamination plume could reach the Huffman Dam well field. The response to the city request thus far has been mixed.

RELATED: Dayton demands Wright-Patt act on water concerns

3. Dayton, Ohio EPA, and Wright-Patterson authorities most recently met this week in ongoing talks about how to handle groundwater contamination concern.

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Flood watch for entire Miami Valley

Published: Saturday, February 24, 2018 @ 5:32 AM
Updated: Saturday, February 24, 2018 @ 6:49 AM

A flood watch will be in effect for all counties until 10 a.m. Sunday. Rain develops and may be heavy at times, especially toward the evening. A few thunderstorms are possible in the evening and overnight. Isolated damaging winds and flooding will be the main threat tonight. Rainfall amounts of 1 inch to 3 inches will be possible by Sunday morning. Temperatures will rise into the lower to middle 50s into the evening, then will fall late tonight as a cold front passes.

>>Weekend to bring more rain, threat for strong storms

  • Rain at times for Saturday
  • Some strong to severe storms possible Saturday night
  • Main threat for isolated damaging winds and flooding
  • Additional 1 inch to 3 inches of rain possible 

TOMORROW: Any rain early will end quickly then clouds linger. Flooding still possible as rivers and streams continue to rise. Highs will be in the lower 50s and it will be windy at times. There will be gradually decreasing clouds through the night and chilly with temperatures falling into the lower 30s. Watch for isolated slick spots late with any leftover standing water. 

MONDAY: There will be a lot of sunshine and mild with highs in the lower 50s.

TUESDAY: There will be mostly sunny skies with mild temperatures in the upper 50s.

WEDNESDAY: Clouds return with the chance for showers. Highs will top out near 60 degrees.

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Ohio investigators test evidence from 14,000 backlogged rape kits

Published: Saturday, February 24, 2018 @ 4:13 AM

Ohio investigators working to test evidence from 14,000 backlogged rape kits

Nearly 14,000 rape kits were tested by the State Crime Lab after State investigators proposed they would seven years ago.

>>Weekend to bring more rain, threat for strong storms

The kits provided thousands of pieces of evidence that could lead to suspects but it was difficult to keep up with them all, state leaders said.

New rules went into place in reviewing the kits for evidence to ensure a backlog like this doesn’t happen again, according to state leaders.

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“When agencies submit kits without delay, suspects can be identified faster, taken off the streets sooner and future attacks prevented,” Attorney General Mike DeWine said.

Almost 370 rape kits from Springfield that pointed to possible suspects in 135 cases were once a part of the backlog.

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