The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

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February 8, 2008

Woman who went missing in 2000 legally declared dead

MERCER — Sandra Kay Baker’s body was never found after she went missing nearly eight years ago, but the Delaware Township woman has been declared dead.

However, that doesn’t provide much closure for Ms. Baker’s children, who flew into Pittsburgh Friday morning for a hearing with Mercer County Common Pleas Court Judge Thomas R. Dobson.

“Not until we get the man who did it,” Ms. Baker’s daughter Shedara Binkley said of when the family can rest easy.

Mrs. Binkley, 36, Clearwater, Fla., and her brother, Shawn Krebs, 34, Denver, testified their mother owned a home in Florida, where she lived until early 1999, when she moved to Delaware Township.

They wanted to put the property in their names and Florida requires a death certificate to make that change, they said. They had their mother declared dead by Florida courts in 2007, but learned a death certificate must be issued in Pennsylvania, where Ms. Baker last lived.

Krebs and Mrs. Binkley told Dobson they were very close with their mother and maintained regular contact with her that ended May 25, 2000, the last day she was seen alive.

“I got a phone call on the 25th that she didn’t come home,” Mrs. Binkley said.

Dobson concluded that Ms. Baker, who was 46 when she went missing, is dead, with the date of death being May 25, 2000. The Mercer County coroner’s office is now authorized to issue a death certificate with the cause of death listed as unknown and her children are appointed trustees of her estate, he said.

In Pennsylvania, a person can be declared dead after they’ve been missing for at least seven years.

After the hearing, Mrs. Binkley and Krebs talked about their mother’s life and how they feel about the investigation into her disappearance, which is ongoing.

Ms. Baker was originally from Florida and was married for seven years to Robert Krebs of Tampa, the father of Mrs. Binkley and Krebs, who also attended the hearing.

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