National News

Police: Prosthetic leg belonged to missing girl

Posted November 1, 2010

— A prosthetic leg that investigators found last week belonged to a 10-year-old Hickory girl who has been missing for more than three weeks, police said Monday.

Searchers looking for the remains of Zahra Clare Baker found the leg Tuesday near a Caldwell County home where her stepmother once lived. Zahra had an artificial leg because she lost hers to bone cancer.

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

Police used a scanner to obtain the serial number of a transponder placed inside the prosthesis, and they matched that number with one on medical records obtained from Australia, where Zahra was fitted with the leg.

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

Zahra's stepmother, 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.

Adam 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.

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  • JustOneGodLessThanU Nov 2, 4:36 p.m.

    Guten tag, deutschgirl89. :-) IMO, it’s Texas's cowboy-mentality (also known as the “caveman mentality”) that violence is a reasonable solution to problems. This Neanderthal outlook is demonstrated in the violence they commit and it made it easy for our last president (who was from TX) to start two wars...all because he was too ignorant & lazy to work diplomacy...and because that’s the way he was reared. Some people just have a hard time evolving and we all pay the price.

  • CarolinaGirlRJA Nov 2, 2:14 p.m.

    "Texas executes 4 TIMES the number of prisoners than any other state (and 20 times the national average), yet their murder rate is more than DOUBLE the national average."

    Texans are just angry people in general. it doesn't surprise me. ha ha. And I agree, the death penalty does not deter people. People will always committ crime as long as they have a personally justified reason/motive. I just wish we didn't have to use tax dollars to support them. If we're going to keep them in prison, just give them a sheet and the floor. No TV, no Working out, no social time. Complete and utter isolation and solitude is what will really get under a person's skin.

  • jannita Nov 2, 1:03 p.m.

    Several of you have commented that you would have adopted Zahra in a heartbeat. There are many children like Zahra who need a safe, stable, loving home. In North Carolina alone, there are almost 150 children waiting for a family. And as if it were not enough just to get them a family and a home, there is an added benefit that the more children who find a home, the lower the caseloads for DSS, and the more good, quality time that can be spent on prevention and keeping other children from ending up in this situation. Please, get involved! Check out this site to see other waiting kids in NC. It is probably too late for Zahra, but it is not too late for them! http://www.adoptuskids.org/Child/ChildSearch.aspx

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Nov 2, 1:03 p.m.

    Sorry, dogzrock, but only humans...here and now...will find an end to this tragic situation. Only WE can work to prevent further occurrences.

    Besides, what would your prayer sound like? Something like this? “Oh, powerful deity, I know you gave this child cancer at a very young age, then you took her leg, and then her hearing...and then you let her be killed.... and, I know you already know what I’m thinking, but can I second-guess your actions and ask you to change your mind and allow us to find what’s left of her body? Puh-leeeease?”

  • ronlow65 Nov 2, 12:21 p.m.

    this is going on to long!!! they should lock the dad up too. he is just as guilty!!

  • dogzrock Nov 2, 12:00 p.m.

    This story just breaks my heart. I can not get this precious little girl off my mind. I wish somebody would have stepped in and saved her. I never met her but I feel a connection to her for some reason. I wish I could have adopted her. Her positive attitude despite her cancer is something really special. The world has a lost a beautiful bright light. I am praying that her remains can be found and she can have a proper burial. I am hoping her dad was not involved, but he must have known she was being abused so he at least is partly to blame. So sorry of her family members that loved her. Praying for justice for sweet Zahra.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Nov 2, 11:51 a.m.

    To all of you calling for death, death, death...

    2009 Murder Rates (per 100,000 people):

    “Death Penalty States” was 4.9

    “Non-Death Penalty States” was 2.8

    Wow. Clearly...the death penalty does NOT deter murderers. (In fact, why not say that it incites people to commit MORE murders?)

    e.g. Texas executes 4 TIMES the number of prisoners than any other state (and 20 times the national average), yet their murder rate is more than DOUBLE the national average.

    www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/murder-rates-nationally-and-state

  • cd.rose Nov 2, 11:48 a.m.

    Heart breaking!

  • vgurry1 Nov 2, 10:41 a.m.

    AAHHH, but a slow torturous death with alot of agony may make them think twice :)

  • OGE Nov 2, 10:25 a.m.

    DEATH FOR SUCH PROVEN GUILTY KILLERS SUCH AS THIS, WILL BE THE ONLY THING THAT WILL SLOW IT DOWN.
    rcrdngcountry

    Yep more killing is always the answer. People are going to do these things whether there is the possibility of being put to death or not.

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