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.

Slow warming trend to get underway

Published: Tuesday, October 17, 2017 @ 3:21 AM
Updated: Tuesday, October 17, 2017 @ 6:45 PM

Warmer temperatures are expected in the Dayton area over the coming days.

Clear skies and seasonably cool weather is expected as temperatures drop into the 50s after sunset, Storm Center 7 Chief Meteorologist Eric Elwell said.

QUICK-LOOK FORECAST

  • Clear, not quite as chilly tonight
  • Slow warmup over next few days
  • No rain until late Sunday

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Warmer Mornings(Graphic by Storm Center 7 Chief Meteorologist Eric Elwell)

DETAILED FORECAST

Overnight: Clear skies are expected with temperatures falling into the lower 40s.

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Wednesday: Expect lots of sunshine. Temperatures will rebound to near 70 degrees by late afternoon.

Long-range Temperature Trend(Graphic by Storm Center 7 Chief Meteorologist Eric Elwell)

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Thursday: More sunshine is expected through the day. Highs will reach into the lower 70s.

Friday: A few high clouds will arrive, however skies will remain mostly sunny. Highs will reach well above normal, into the lower to middle 70s.

Saturday: Mostly sunny skies and unseasonably warm temperatures will start the weekend with highs in the middle 70s. 

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Sunday: Clouds will be on the increase, mainly late in the day. It will become breezy and mild with highs in the middle 70s. There is a chance for showers by late evening or at night.

Ex-deputy settles federal lawsuit against Miami County Sheriff’s Department

Published: Tuesday, October 17, 2017 @ 7:00 PM

Tina Waymire in 2015 (Cox Media Group/File)
Tina Waymire in 2015 (Cox Media Group/File)

A federal lawsuit former Miami County sheriff’s Deputy Tina Waymire filed against the sheriff’s department has been settled.

The settlement was announced just before a jury trial began this week in U.S. District Court in Dayton.

RELATED: Compensation case involving Tina Waymire settled

Waymire filed suit in May 2015, claiming that the way she was paid for her work as the department’s K-9 officer was in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

She claimed the county failed to keep records of the hours she worked and knowingly failed to pay overtime. 

According to a notice filed in court records, the settlement was disclosed to the court Monday and a jury impaneled to hear the case was dismissed. 

RELATED: Deputy Tina Waymire, on leave, has been fired 

Details of the settlement were not available Tuesday. According to the court, the settlement would be formalized within 30 days. 

The lawsuit was filed against the sheriff’s office, in care of the county commissioners. 

Waymire, who was with the department nearly 30 years, was fired in June 2015 by then-Sheriff Charles Cox. 

Tuesday morning, the commissioners met in closed executive session with current Sheriff Dave Duchak and lawyers to discuss litigation.

No action was taken as a result of the session, which was added to the commission agenda Tuesday morning.

2 creating YouTube video survive close call with train, Fairborn fire official says

Published: Monday, October 16, 2017 @ 7:36 PM
Updated: Tuesday, October 17, 2017 @ 2:43 AM

One Fairborn teen had book bag torn from him along Kauffman road near Central Avenue

Two people videotaping for the purpose of posting their exploits to YouTube escaped injury Monday night when one of them rolled off the tracks as a train approached, officials said.

The second person apparently standing too close to the tracks was thrown to the ground when the train hit the backpack the first person was holding, according to the early assessment from witnesses, Fairborn fire Battalion Chief Laura Kerr said.

"We highly recommend that you not do that," she said. 

RELATED: Young person doing YouTube stunt hit, killed by train

Police and medic units were originally dispatched on a report of a pedestrian hit by a train in the area of Kauffman Avenue and South Central Avenue in Fairborn around 7:15 p.m.

The train conductors are extremely upset because of what happened, Kerr said, noting that such incidents can trigger post traumatic stress for train engineers and conductors. 

"Do not play on the tracks. It's not a play area. Its not an adventure. Its not a story. It's not a good video," she said.

The investigation is continuing, but Kerr said witnesses have told authorities that one of the people involved laid down on the tracks and rolled off at the very last second as the freight train approached. 

The second person, apparently wearing a back pack or book bag, was too close to the tracks, Kerr said. The train hit the back pack or bag, which was ripped off the person. 

"Luckily, no one was pulled under the train," she said, noting the investigation is still so new that she's not sure of the ages or genders of the people involved. 

No word yet on whether police or fire officials will pursue charges against the two people involved in the incident.

In September, 16-year-old Joseph Fernandez was struck and killed by a train in Miamisburg when he tried to perform a stunt. 

“All these videos on YouTube of people doing this exact same stunt and not dying is what encouraged these kids to do this,” Joseph’s uncle Joshua Fernandez said following his death. “People should stop posting this stuff.”

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Boil advisory issued for Gratis residents

Published: Tuesday, October 17, 2017 @ 7:02 PM

A boil advisory has been issued in the village of Gratis, according to the village water department.

The advisory affects about 40 people living south of Franklin Street. 

As crews work on water lines, people living on Harrison, Thomas, High, Mack and Saylor streets are advised to boil water before use.

Water department staff said the advisory remains in effect until further notice.

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