Erica Baker took her aunt’s dog for a walk in Indian Riffle Park in Kettering, Ohio, on Feb. 7, 1999, but never returned. Baker, 9, left her mother’s home sometime between 3:30-4 p.m. Witnesses saw her and the dog near the park’s pond around 4 p.m. This was the last confirmed sighting of Baker. Later that day, the dog, who was dragging its leash, returned to the witness who called animal control, not realizing it was the same dog they had seen earlier with Baker.
When Baker did not return home that night, she was reported missing. Police investigating the case were told Baker had been run over by a vehicle and the driver disposed of her body. The driver was reportedly Jan Marie Franks, who was a known drug user. Franks never admitted to the crime and died in 2001. Her lawyer has refused to cooperate with police, citing attorney-client privilege.
In 2004, Christian John Gabriel, who was Franks’ boyfriend, was arrested and charged with evidence tampering and gross abuse of a corpse. Prosecutors said they believed Gabriel was driving the vehicle, identified as a van, and he hit Baker on Glengarry Drive. He then buried her body in Caesar Creek State Park. Gabriel confessed to the crime but could not take police to Baker’s body. Once in court, he pleaded not guilty and said his confession was coerced. In 2005, he was convicted and sentenced to six years in prison. Baker’s body has never been found, leaving her case unsolved.