Local News

Stepmother of missing Hickory girl arrested

Posted October 10, 2010 12:27 p.m. EDT
Updated October 11, 2010 7:13 a.m. EDT

— The stepmother of a missing Hickory girl was arrested Sunday morning on outstanding charges unrelated to the 10-year-old's disappearance.

Police booked Elisa Baker on charges of larceny by employee, driving with a revoked license, passing worthless check and communicating threats. None of those charges is related to the disappearance of Zahra Claire Baker, police said, but Elisa Baker has not been eliminated as a person of interest.

Police said Sunday that details have emerged that make it seem less likely that a stranger abducted Zahra, who was reported missing a day earlier by her father, Adam, and stepmother, Elisa.

The father and stepmother were interviewed early in the investigation, and police were following up leads to corroborate their statements. Investigators were looking at surveillance video from businesses near the Baker home for clues.

Elisa and Adam Barker reported Zahra missing around 2 p.m. Saturday. They said they had last seen her in sleeping in her bedroom at 21 21st Ave. NW around 2:30 a.m., police said.

"We continue to have concerns for her well-being," Libby Grigg, assistant to the Hickory police chief, said in a statement. "We are deeply concerned for the welfare of Zahra but remain hopeful that we will locate her safe and unharmed."

A statewide Amber Alert issued Saturday for Zahra remains in effect. The Federal Bureau of Investigation was assisting in the search for her.

Zahra is described as a white girl, about 5 feet 1 inches tall and weighing 85 pounds, with brown hair and blue eyes. She was wearing a camouflage Army T-shirt and black knee-length tights, and she has a prosthetic left leg below the knee. She is hearing-impaired but does not have her hearing aids with her.

No information about any potential abductor has been released.

Anyone with information about Zahra's whereabouts is asked to call the Hickory Police Department at 828-328-5551 or call 911 or *HP.