Thu. 11:22am: Ohio family still seeks answers on 9-year-old girl

DAYTON (AP) – A southwest Ohio family remains haunted by questions about their 9-year-old daughter’s final moments after she went missing in 1999, and by tantalizing tips that never pan out.

Erica Baker was last seen alive 14 years ago this week, after going outside to walk her dog in the Dayton suburb of Kettering. A massive search followed, yielding no conclusive leads.

In 2004, a man police had considered a possible suspect contacted Kettering detectives to talk about a Feb. 7, 1999, vehicle accident now believed to have resulted in Erica’s death.

Police said he told them he buried her body. A grand jury indicted Christian Gabriel on counts of gross abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence. He was convicted and served nearly six years in prison. His passenger the day of Baker’s disappearance, Jan Franks, had died of a drug overdose in 2001.

Police say multiple attempts to find a burial spot were fruitless. Lead detective Sgt. Bob Green told the Dayton Daily News this week he thinks Erica might have still been alive after the accident, something that adds to the family’s painful thoughts.

“There’s always that question in my mind, if they buried her alive somewhere,” said her mother, Misty Baker.