Grays Harbor deputies make arrest in cold rape case, explore possible link to Lindsey Baum

Jessica Wong

OLYMPIA — Grays Harbor deputies have arrested a 50-year-old Enumclaw man in connection with a 2003 kidnapping and rape cold case in McCleary. Deputies booked Paul James Bieker into the Grays Harbor County jail on Tuesday, jail records show. The Sheriff’s Office alleges he abducted and sexually assaulted a 17-year-old […]

OLYMPIA — Grays Harbor deputies have arrested a 50-year-old Enumclaw man in connection with a 2003 kidnapping and rape cold case in McCleary.

Deputies booked Paul James Bieker into the Grays Harbor County jail on Tuesday, jail records show. The Sheriff’s Office alleges he abducted and sexually assaulted a 17-year-old girl in 2003 and have indicated they are exploring possible connections to the murder case of Lindsey Baum, who went missing in 2009, according to a Facebook post.

Bieker appeared in Grays Harbor Superior Court on Wednesday and pleaded not guilty to five charges, including first-degree rape, first-degree kidnapping, first-degree burglary, felony harassment and second-degree taking a motor vehicle without permission.

The Sheriff’s Office says the 17-year-old girl was kidnapped when she returned to her Church Road home in McCleary. The kidnapper allegedly bound her, loaded her into her own vehicle and took her to an undisclosed location where he raped her, according to court documents.

After the assault, investigators say the kidnapper drove her to another location on Elma-Hicklin Road and left her in the vehicle, per the court documents. She managed to escape and reported the incident to her father who then called police, according to the documents.

The Sheriff’s Office says a hospital examined the teen, allowing them to collect DNA evidence of the alleged kidnapper. Although investigators entered the evidence into a nationwide criminal database, they were unable to link the DNA to any person, according to court documents.

By 2010, the Grays Harbor Prosecuting Attorney’s Office obtained an arrest warrant for whoever matched the DNA sample, according to court documents, and a judge set bail at $100,000.

A breakthrough in the case did not emerge until last December, when Sheriff’s Office Chief Darrin Wallace submitted the evidence to a lab for genealogy testing, the post says.

The results from the lab allowed investigators to create a shortlist of people who may be related to the alleged kidnapper and rapist, according to the post. Investigators eventually focused on Bieker who reportedly lived near the girl’s home in 2003, per the post.

While Bieker was under surveillance, Wallace and a detective managed to obtain a sample of his DNA from two discarded coffee cups on June 3, according to the documents. The chances of selecting an unrelated individual at random from the U.S. population was 1 in 35 quadrillion, one document notes.

On June 9, the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab compared the new sample with the old sample and found a match, per the documents. With this evidence, investigators moved to arrest Bieker on Tuesday.

The Sheriff’s Office says the case is still under investigation but noted they are evaluating possible connections to the murder case of 10-year-old Lindsey Baum.

Baum disappeared in June 2009 as she walked home from a friend’s house during the late evening. An intensive search followed, but she was not found until 2017 when her remains were uncovered in a remote area of Kittitas County in Eastern Washington.

Despite the 2017 development, no arrests have been made in connection to Baum’s case.

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