State News

Police release 911 call in girl’s disappearance

Posted October 19, 2010

— The father of a disabled missing 10-year-old Hickory girl told an emergency dispatcher he thought a fire set in his back yard may have been meant to distract him while kidnappers abducted his daughter.

Adam Baker’s 911 call to report Zahra Clare Baker missing Oct. 9 was released by the Hickory Police Department on Tuesday. Police had visited Baker’s home around 5 a.m. that morning after getting a report of a fire.

Zahra’s bone cancer left her with a prosthetic leg and she uses hearing aids, which were found at the home after she was reported missing.

Baker, 33, told the 911 dispatcher that someone had set a fire on his property and left a ransom note claiming to have kidnapped the daughter of Baker’s employer.

“It appears they may have taken my daughter instead of his daughter,” Baker said.

Police now believe the ransom note was bogus, and that the fire was deliberately set. The girl’s stepmother, Elisa Baker, 42, has been accused of writing the ransom note and has been charged with obstruction of justice.

Investigators also doubt the family’s claims that they last saw Zahra early in the morning of Oct. 9, nearly 12 hours before they reported her missing. In the 911 call, Adam Baker said that neither he nor his wife checked on his daughter after the fire and ransom note were discovered.

“We had all that drama last night and me and my wife went back to bed,” he said. “My daughter is, I think, coming into puberty and she’s hitting that broody stage. We only see her, she only comes up, when she wants something.”

Zahra Claire Baker, 10 Police release 911 call in girl’s disappearance

Police now believe Zahra could have been missing two weeks before she was reported missing.

Teams continued searching small, targeted areas for clues Tuesday, and detectives were keeping up a list of interviews of people who might have information about the case, according to Hickory Deputy Police Chief Major Clyde Deal.

Investigators have asked for medical records from her native Australia, including details on the prosthesis the girl received after losing a leg to bone cancer.

Deal declined to say if investigators have also sought dental records, which are often used to identify a body. Authorities have said they think the missing girl is dead.

Zahra lived in Australia with her father until he met his wife online and moved to North Carolina.

Investigators were keeping Zahra’s biological mother in Australia updated on developments, Deal said. Adam Baker has continued to cooperate with investigators, Deal said. Authorities said they have not ruled him out as a suspect in the disappearance.

“If we ask him to be here, he’s showing up where we ask him to be,” Deal said.

Baker said in an interview Friday with The Associated Press he wants to find Zahra and take her back to Australia if she wants to go.


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  • MudLife Oct 20, 2010

    This i so pathetic he's not even upset at all and saying him and the wife layed back down and didn't check on Zahra. And the ransom note said nothing of his bosses daughter.

  • smithla2008 Oct 20, 2010

    With what this child had already been through makes this even more sick. IMO forget death row and bring back public hangings. It would teach alot of criminals to stop. Plus the youth of today might think twice before they started and became criminals if they thought they'd actually get what they deserved.

  • poohpdoo2002 Oct 20, 2010

    The 911 call was not genuine. He did not sound upset that his daughter was missing. He sounded nonchalant about the whole thing. If any of my children came up missing, I would not call 9-1-1 in any calm manner. I would be crying, my voice would be shaking, and I would be obviously upset. There is no way I would sound like I was reading something from a script or sounding like a normal, every-day conversation. He knows something, has something to do with it, and his wife is the scapegoat.

  • genegeneandnancy Oct 20, 2010

    Any chance Nancy Grace could be the prosecutor in this case?? This little girl didn't deserve whatever has been done to her..she's had a hard enough life with her medical battles.

  • kbo80 Oct 20, 2010

    Sad sad sad!!!!!! Dad is is trash....step-mom is even bigger trash. This child just had terrible people in her life. Biological mom may have not had anything to do with this but, she is just as bad for not seeing the child since she was 8 months as reported in other stories. What's the point of even keeping her posted on what's going on?

  • JAT Oct 20, 2010

    and if I were the girl, I'd only come out when I had to, too, if it meant I were going to get beat. There's no telling how long she'd been gone and the father was just blindly accepting his wife's tale that the kid was there, just didn't want to come out.

  • common_sense_plz Oct 20, 2010

    "She is in the broody stage". So Just because she is being a bit bratty, hateful, self absorbed, etc. You are not going to seek her out for 2 weeks. I am sorry, my child is 13 and she tries to be a handful, she gets mad and goes into her room, but I would never go more than an hour without checking on her no matter how "broody" she is or gets.

  • IAMAmerican Oct 20, 2010

    God will take care of these people that have hurt this beautiful sweet child.

    GOD and a few friends in Prison!!!!

  • BlahBlahBlahBlahBlah Oct 20, 2010

    Oh what a tangled web we weave....etc..

    This man's story is so full of it!

    I'll bet he does want to get on the first plane back to Australia!!

    Bet you will be with us for awhile in NC Mr Baker...unless you know something that we have not already figured out!

  • serious Oct 20, 2010

    I agree with JAT. They purposesly tried to make it look like they "got the wrong girl". That's why he made it a point to say in the 911 call that he thought they wanted the boss' daugther, that's why they set the company car on fire. Only trouble is, the stepmom has admitted to writing the fake note. So why cant both of them be charged right now? It's obvious that both the father and the stepmother were involved. If my child were missing I probably wouldn't even be able to talk. This guy was waaay too calm. And who doesn't check on their child at 2 am after you have found a ramsom note and a burning car? I'm surprised the cops didn't ask if they had a child in the house and if the child was ok being there was this ransom note? I check on my child several times during the night and that is when we dont have fires burning in our back yard or suspicious notes on our cars. It just doesn't make sense. Poor little girl.