The search for a missing 3-year-old who was last seen alive in his Shell Point home remains active 29-years later.
Paul Baker was reported missing from his home by his stepmother, Susan Baker, on June 27, 1987, according to a Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office news release.
Susan Baker said she was taking a nap and her stepson must have walked out of the residence. It was later discovered that she had been under the influence of alcohol and drugs at the time Paul disappeared.
Deputies found the story “highly suspicious” and with further investigation learned that Paul and his 6-year-old sister were physically abused by Susan Baker on a regular basis, according to the release.
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She was ultimately charged on the assaults of the 6-year-old and convicted.
Following her release from prison, Susan and James Baker, Paul’s father, eventually moved to Chipley, Fla.
In 2009, a five-day search in Chipley for 7-month-old Shannon Dedrick ended when the girl was found alive in a 2-by-3 cedar box that had been shoved under her baby sitter’s bed.
That baby sitter was Susan Baker.
Authorities said at the time that Dedrick’s mother, Chrystina Lynn Mercer, gave her daughter to Baker and then reported her missing 10 hours later.
Dedrick was likely kept in the box for 12 hours before investigators discovered her, Washington County Sheriff Bobby Haddock said at the time.
Clothing was packed around the box to muffle any sound, and baking powder was placed inside to mask the stench of dirty diapers.
“(Susan Baker) is a wicked woman,” Beaufort County Sheriff P.J. Tanner said during a press conference in 2009. “Knowing what I know about her, ... it was a surprise this child was found alive.”
She was once again charged, this time with neglect of a child with aggravated circumstances and interference of child custody.
Susan Baker remains the person of interest in Paul’s disappearance.
His DNA has been entered into the National Missing Persons database, the release said.
Information leading to an arrest could be rewarded with up to $2,500, the release said.
Anyone with information on the cold case can contact Capt. Bob Bromage at 843-255-3402 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anonymous tips can also be made to Crime Stoppers at 1-888-CrimeSC.