State News

Appeals Court upholds decision to release warrants

Posted April 17, 2012 8:56 a.m. EDT
Updated April 17, 2012 1:10 p.m. EDT

— An appeals court says a judge made the right decision when he unsealed search warrants in the case of a 10-year-old disabled girl from Australia whose stepmother killed her in Hickory.

A Catawba County Superior Court judge sealed search warrants with critical details of the Zahra Baker case in October, 2010. But another judge released the documents a month later after several news organizations asked to see the warrants.

The North Carolina Court of Appeals on Tuesday upheld that move, saying the prosecutor's office missed a deadline to file a motion that could have kept the documents sealed.

Zahra was killed and dismembered in 2010. Her stepmother, Elisa Baker, pleaded guilty last year to second-degree murder. Zahra's father, Adam, returned to his Australia in January with his daughter's remains.