Local News

Missing girl's dad: Wife's involvement possible

Posted October 11, 2010

— A hearing-impaired Hickory girl with a prosthetic leg vanished over the weekend, and her father said Monday it was possible that his wife was involved in the disappearance.

The 10-year-old girl’s stepmother, Elisa Baker, was in police custody on a dozen charges unrelated to the Saturday disappearance of Zahra Clare Baker.

Zahra’s father, Adam Baker, told ABC’s “Good Morning America” he hadn’t seen his wife much since police were called and an Amber Alert issued.

“I just hope I can get my daughter back. I miss her so much,” he said, choking up.

Adam Baker said his wife told him that she last saw Zahra sleeping in her bed about 2:30 a.m. Saturday.

A fire was reported in the back yard of the Bakers’ home about 5 a.m. He said he was in a big panic after the fire, but didn’t check on his daughter.

The FBI was involved in the investigation, and police have collected surveillance video from businesses near the family’s home and used dogs to search the neighborhood.

Zahra Baker Raw video: Zahra Baker at charity event (no audio)

Investigators planned to interview her former teachers and former neighbors in areas where the family has previously lived.

“We are using every available resource we have at our disposal to find Zahra,” Hickory Police Chief Tom Adkins said Monday. “We are not giving up hope that Zahra will return home safe and sound.”

Police said Sunday that details have emerged that make it seem less likely that a stranger abducted Zahra. Adkins said he couldn’t rule out any suspects, including Adam Baker.

“As the time progresses, we might be able to rule out folks. But right now, every possibility is out there,” Adkins said.

Adam Baker was asked if he thought his wife was involved and said, “I wouldn’t like to think so. On what I’ve heard so far, it could be possible.”

Citing an ongoing investigation, Adkins wouldn’t elaborate on what Baker had heard.

Zahra was being home-schooled but had attended public schools in the past.

She had lost part of her hearing during chemotherapy for two bouts of cancer, her stepmother told the Independent-Tribune of Concord-Kannapolis in a May interview. The newspaper reported that Elisa Baker fought back tears while the girl was fitted for the hearing aids during a charity event.

Current neighbor Eddie Mitchell, 68, said the Bakers had lived in Hickory for only a couple of months.

“I hope the kid is all right. It’s just very strange,” he said.

Elisa Baker was arrested Sunday on charges including communicating threats, writing worthless checks, larceny and driving with a revoked license.

It was unclear whether she has an attorney.

She has two daughters and a son from a previous marriage. The mother and son don’t have much of a relationship, the man said, after he stayed with his father when they divorced. The daughters went to live with their mother.

Still, 22-year-old Douglas Proctor said he had spoken to investigators about his mother and was dismayed over news of the case.

“It’s not something that you want to open up a paper and see,” he said, adding he’d met Zahra only once.

Adam Baker was from Australia, and met his current wife over the Internet, said former neighbor Brandy Stapleton, 22, of Lenoir.

Zahra had bone cancer and uses hearing aids in both ears and a prosthetic left leg from the knee down. She doesn’t have her hearing aids with her, police said.

Zahra is white, has short reddish-blond hair and blue eyes and stands about 5 feet 1 inches tall and weighs approximately 85 pounds. She was last seen wearing a camouflage Army T-shirt and black knee-length tights,

Anyone with information about Zahra's whereabouts is asked to call the Hickory Police Department at 828-328-5551, 911 or their local law enforcement.

53 Comments

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  • n888ys Oct 12, 12:46 p.m.

    The little girl is safe and sound now, In Heaven where she is away from all those that did her harm and worse.

  • cocker_mom Oct 11, 5:13 p.m.

    In this case, it would appear that it's the father that relocated and married the step mother. Usually you don't see that - but it does appear that both sexes can be equally blind when it comes to "matters of the heart" and can put their children in harms way.

    I just don't see how anyone could do that.

    And it's becoming more and more troublesome that there's a question about the last time anyone has seen her. I also don't like the comment that the father was so upset after the "fire" that he didn't check on her? How do you report her missing at 2 PM? How about 8 AM?

    I hate it when I get this sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.

  • beachgal Oct 11, 5:07 p.m.

    I pray this little girl is okay!

  • sheablue22 Oct 11, 4:52 p.m.

    I won't be reading the other posts and comments on this story after the mess that was left here after Shaniya Davis's disappearance. I would like to say my prayers go up for Zahra and her family. Hoping this is one story that has a happy ending. I ask for others to please do the same.

  • grandmagail Oct 11, 4:49 p.m.

    "She was last seen wearing a camouflage Army T-shirt and black knee-length tights."

    Is this what she was sleeping in? If not, how does anyone know what she was wearing?

  • kewlmom Oct 11, 4:46 p.m.

    When I was single, that was one requirement, any man I was ready to get serious with, had to be not only "OK" with my kids, but get along with them, accept them, and be able to learn to love them. My husband loves my children, and my children love their step-dad. They had to have a good relationship BEFORE I even thought to go to the next level.

  • lolly Oct 11, 4:45 p.m.

    Poor little one. She has been thru so much with her fight with cancer.

  • AMHall82 Oct 11, 4:15 p.m.

    They won't, cocker_mom. A colleague and I were discussing this very topic earlier today...when you have children, it's time to put yourself aside and start thinking about your child(ren)! Our discussion centered more around prescription drug use but the topic is interchangeable; the result is still the same. At some point, you have to suck it up, be a big girl, get over yourself and TAKE CARE OF YOUR CHILDREN! The very minute people stop doing this is the very minute that a news report like this is in the making.

  • whyalltheproblems Oct 11, 4:15 p.m.

    so very sad...yeah, something is not adding up right. such a cute girl, she's been through enough. hope she is found safe and sound.

  • Nanny113 Oct 11, 4:12 p.m.

    Associated Press has said there is a ransom note but no one would elaborate as of yet. This is in the same article where it mentioned they were trying to find someone who had seen this little girl alive in the last few weeks.

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