State News

Warrants: Two men may have been involved in Zahra's death

Posted November 30, 2010 5:35 p.m. EST
Updated January 11, 2011 2:59 p.m. EST

— Hundreds of pages of warrants related to the search for a Hickory 10-year-old were released Tuesday in response to a public information request by North Carolina news organizations, including WRAL News.

The documents don't specifically address how the girl died, but they do include details about  two men, acquaintances of her stepmother, who a source said could have raped and killed Zahra Baker.

Zahra was reported missing Oct. 9. Police confirmed Nov. 19 that human remains found in Caldwell County matched her DNA profile. 

In a statement to police, a source wrote that he had third-hand information that a man named "Sammy" ... "had done something very bad and needed to leave town." 

Police searched the home of Timothy Samuel "Sammy" Young and Lewis James Young, at 8630 County Line Road in Hilebran, looking for evidence of firearms, bodily fluids and indications that Zahra had been there. 

The documents also include details from investigators' conversations with Zahra's stepmother, Elisa Baker, and her lawyer. 

Elisa Baker was arrested Oct. 10, and she is accused of trying to throw off investigators by writing a fake ransom note for another child. Her attorneys have argued that her $97,000 bond should be reduced because she helped police find Zahra.

An investigator with the Hickory Police Department wrote in applying for a search warrant that Elisa Baker's lawyer told him Zahra had been dismembered, and that she and her husband dumped a mattress and box springs at a trash dump in Granite Falls and wrapped Zahra's prosthetic leg in a white trash bag and threw it into an apartment dumpster in Hickory.

The warrants note that Elisa Baker showed "deception" in a polygraph test when asked if she knew of any harm that came to Zahra. 

Police also searched records for multiple telephone numbers, e-mail addresses and Internet profiles associated with Elisa Baker.

Zahra lived with her stepmother and father, Adam Baker. In the course of the investigation, according to the warrants, investigators found that Elisa Baker had a history of referrals to the Department of Social Services for alleged abuse of her biological children. Caldwell County DSS reported in July that Zahra got a black eye from her stepmother.

Zahra's father, Adam Baker, has adamantly denied involvement in his daughter's death. He faces unrelated charges of assault with a deadly weapon, failure to return rental property, communicating threats and writing worthless checks.

The search for Zahra gained nationwide attention. On Nov. 12, Hickory police confirmed that human remains found in Caldwell County matched a DNA profile of Zahra.