Local News

Investigators find bone during search for missing Hickory girl

Posted November 3, 2010

— Search teams in Caldwell County recovered a bone on Wednesday that might be related to the disappearance of a 10-year-old Hickory girl, police said.

The bone was sent to the state Medical Examiner's office in Chapel hill for further examination.

Zahra Clare Baker was reported missing Oct. 9, and authorities say they believe she is dead.

On Monday, investigators confirmed that a prosthetic leg found last week in Caldwell County belongs to the girl. The leg was found near a home where the child's stepmother, Elisa Baker, once lived.

On Wednesday morning, searchers returned to the area to drain a nearby pond.

Zahra and her father lived in Australia until he met a woman online and moved to North Carolina to marry her.

Elisa Baker, 42, remains in jail on an obstruction of justice charge. Police said she acknowledged to writing a bogus ransom note found at the scene of a fire in the family’s back yard on the day Zahra was reported missing.

The girl's father, Adam Baker, and Elisa Baker told police they had last seen Zahra in her bed at their home in Hickory on Oct. 9, but police don’t believe them.

Investigators said Zahra may have been alive when the family moved to a new home in North Carolina in mid-September, but they’ve had trouble finding anyone else who has seen her in recent months.

A mattress found by workers at a Caldwell County landfill last week is being tested for DNA evidence in the case, and investigators continue to search the family's home for other evidence.

Adam Baker insists he had nothing to do with Zahra’s disappearance, but police have not ruled him out as a suspect.

Eric Gein, who operates crime memorabilia website Serialkillersink.net, claims Elisa Baker has written him from jail. He is selling those letters on his website, WBTV reported Wednesday.

Gein says in one letter, Elisa Baker wrote of herself and her husband, "We didn't really kill her but what he did after the fact is kinda horrifying." She goes on to say she is afraid of her husband.

Hickory police could not confirm the authenticity of the letters.


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  • CarolinaGirlRJA Nov 4, 2010

    I agree. I am a democrat -- but frankly I think the majority of politicians from any party are just in it for themselves. However, representing a people as a whole, regardless of size, is a difficult task; you can not please everybody. With that being said, it is why we all need to come together and try to make a change rather than depending on one "talking suit".

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Nov 4, 2010

    Yes, deutschgirl89, it is easy to talk about working to reduce crime, but there are some of us who are trying to make it happen...with votes, with discussions like these, by helping people directly, etc.

    Unfortunatley, "the new people we have elected" are NOT those people.

    These folks talk about cutting anti-crime initiatives, building more prisons, increasing the death penalty deaths...and all of those same tired things that keep us a violent country with 3% of our people in jail.

    Of course, I would love for them to "come around"...but things like "midnight basketball" are huge targets for all the guns they have for self-protection. Ironic, eh?

  • CarolinaGirlRJA Nov 4, 2010

    HereandNow99 -- I definitely agree with where you stand in terms of lowering crime rates. Unfortunately, it is easier said than done. Hopefully the new people we have elected to represent us can help in that department. I seriously think it is something that is well worth the time and money to be invested on. I wonder if Georgia's Crime Rate is any better than ours...I used to live there and my mom still talks about how education was so much better and the hope scholarship gave a lot of lower class students a chance at a college education. Although, their lottery has been implemented for quite some time now, and I have heard that's where they get a good chunk of their education funding from. Regardless, things have got to change.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Nov 4, 2010

    “There will always be crime” -- deutschgirl89

    How true. :-) So, it’s seems wise for us to look at the low-crime places in the U.S. (and elsewhere on the planet) and see how they keep their crime low, right?

    From what I’ve seen, money spent on education and ensuring that children have healthy childhoods from loving parents...helps dramatically. In NC, we pay over $21,000 per year for a prisoner. We also pay only ~$3,000-$5,000 on students per year.

    Maybe we should look at this.

    I mean, what if we doubled what we spent on education and expanded counseling for parents and troubled children as well as treatment for the mentally ill (like the step mother in this story)?

    It seems possible, that we could spend the same that we’re spending now, but have much less crime. And less crime = less victims...less death...less sleepless nights for people...less pain for everyone.

  • Hater like Darth Vader Nov 4, 2010

    Yeah, you missed something. You missed the class back in school where they taught you to be cool and not a total nerd.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Nov 4, 2010

    Hater like Vader, please reread the statistic posted. It's a percentage.

    Death penalty states average 4.9 murders / 100,000 people

    Non-death penalty states avg 2.8 murders / 100,000 people

    And since you brought up the most populated state, California, let’s look at the chart. California is 5.3/100,000...and Texas is 5.4/100,000. California does not have a death penalty. Texas does.

    At the website I posted, you'll see that the states with NO death penalty, on average, have many LESS murders.

    Did I miss something? If so, please restate. Thanks. :-)

  • whocares Nov 4, 2010

    This woman is a real piece of work. If you listen to Nancy Grace's show you can find out a lot about this case. They found the bone near where they found the artificial leg. In her letter she blames Zahara for everything and says that if she hadn't beat cancer and wasn't from Australia things would be different and the "normal" people wouldn't be so upset.

  • Hater like Darth Vader Nov 4, 2010


    Did you also know that Texas is more than twice the size of all but 3 other states and also has the second largest population. Since the only state with a high population doesn't have death penalty, why does this suprise you? Don't throw random facts out if you are going to pull them out of context.

  • Hater like Darth Vader Nov 4, 2010


    They aren't charging him because it is fake, they read the letters and confiscate stuff like that. Did you know that the word gullible is not in the dictionary?

  • we3rblessed Nov 4, 2010


    The bone was recovered in neighboring Caldwell County, where the family lived until mid-September.