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Thread: FBI hunt is on for missing Australian girl Zahra Baker

  1. #21
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    NORTH Carolina authorities searching a landfill for clues in the disappearance of Australian girl Zahra Baker discovered on Friday a mattress they hoped would provide crucial evidence in the case.

    The mattress belonged to the missing 10-year-old and was disposed of by Zahra's parents days before they reported her missing on October 9.

    Investigators were hoping to use the mattress to corroborate information given by people associated with the case, and to glean possible DNA evidence that could offer more clues, a statement from the Hickory, North Carolina, police department said.

    Zahra's father, Adam Baker, reported her disappearance to Hickory, North Carolina, police, but a few days later officials said they were investigating her disappearance as a homicide.

    Zahra, who has hearing loss and had one lower leg amputated due to cancer, was born in Australia but moved to the US after Adam Baker met the woman who would become her stepmother on the internet two years ago.

    Adam Baker has not been ruled out as a suspect and his wife, Zahra's stepmother Elisa Baker, has been charged with obstructing justice after she admitted writing a fake $1 million ransom note.

    Elisa Baker is also a suspect in the investigation amid claims she had abused the little girl.

    North Carolina police find mattress of missing Australian girl Zahra Baker | The Daily Telegraph



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  2. #22
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    Crews have resumed their search into the disappearance of 10-year-old Zahra Baker.

    Right now police have closed off roads near Dudley Shoals Road in Granite Falls to search the area.

    Zahra Baker’s stepmother, Elisa Baker, used to live near that area.

    Elisa Baker was arrested on Oct. 10; the day after Zahra was reported missing, on charges unrelated to the 10-year-old’s disappearance. However, Elisa was later charged with obstruction of justice in connection with the case. Police say she wrote a fake ransom note and has not cooperated with the investigation.

    Police haven’t identified exactly what they’re searching for in Granite Falls. Last week crews searched a Caldwell County landfill, looking for mattress that Zahra’s father and stepmother had disposed of in early October. Their search came up empty.

    Zahra’s father, Adam Baker, was arrested Monday morning on five counts of writing worthless checks, two counts of communicating threats, assault with a deadly weapon and failure to return rental property.

    Police acknowledged that Adam Baker had outstanding warrants for worthless checks when the investigation began, but said that they would execute those warrants when the time was appropriate.
    .

    Read more: Crews searching Caldwell Co. in Zahra Baker case - CharlotteObserver.com


  3. #23
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    Why is the dailytelegraph reporting the matress has been found when it has not , or is there a reason that the information is being withheld over there.


  4. #24
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    Adam Baker, father of missing 10-year-old Zahra Baker, was jailed Monday morning on charges not related to his daughter's disappearance, Hickory police say.

    Baker had been wanted on five counts of worthless checks and five counts of failure to appear in court. Police say those charges pre-date Oct. 9, when Adam Baker called authorities and reported his daughter was missing from their Hickory home.

    A number of searches apparently have turned up no clues, including a three-day search last week at a landfill in Caldwell County.

    Hickory police Chief Tom Adkins told reporters two weeks ago that Adam Baker was wanted on several outstanding warrants, but he said authorities had delayed taking action because the father was cooperating with police in the search for Zahra.

    Police had hoped to find a significant clue in the case during last week's painstaking look through mounds of trash in Lenoir. Now, with that search ended, authorities have decided to serve the warrants.

    Baker was jailed Monday in Newton under $7,000 bond.

    His wife, Elisa Baker, Zahra's stepmother, also is in jail in Newton under $65,000 bond. She is charged with obstruction of justice, with investigators alleging she wrote a phony ransom note aimed at interfering with the police probe into the girl's disappearance. Elisa Baker's bond was increased during a hearing last week, after her daughter asked a judge not to release her mother, saying she feared for her safety.

    Elisa Baker also faces charges, including worthless checks, in Burke County.

    Hickory police continue to ask the public for help in the case, saying they are having a difficult time establishing a timeline on when Zahra Baker was last seen.

    Early in the investigation, Elisa Baker was named by police as a "person of interest" in the Zahra Baker case.
    .

    Read more: Zahra Baker's dad is jailed; not connected to disappearance - CharlotteObserver.com


  5. #25
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    new Missing N.C. girl Zahra Baker's dad arrested

    The father of a missing 10-year-old North Carolina girl has joined his wife behind bars after being arrested on charges unrelated to the weeks-long search for his daughter.



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    Investigators have returned to the Hickory home where 10-year-old Zahra Baker was reported missing two weeks ago.

    NewsChannel 36 reporter Rad Berky said police were searching and digging in the backyard.

    Hickory police have scheduled a formal media briefing today at 4:30 p.m.

    Yesterday, Hickory police confirmed that they had seized a mattress found at the Caldwell County landfill that fits the description of one they were looking for in connection with Zahra's disappearance. Police say employees at the landfill discovered the mattress in the area that was searched by officials last week.

    Police say they also found DNA evidence on the mattress and will be testing the DNA to see if the mattress is involved with the Zahra Baker investigation.

    Baker was reported missing on Oct. 9. Investigators believe the girl is dead.



    Read more: Searchers digging in Zahra Baker's backyard - CharlotteObserver.com


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    Search crews scouring a wooded area Wednesday found a prosthetic leg that could belong to Zahra Baker, the 10-year-old Hickory girl missing for almost three weeks and presumed dead.

    The leg was found in an area off Christie Road in Caldwell County, Hickory Police Chief Tom Adkins said. He also said crews have returned to the family's home in Hickory to search for any additional evidence there Wednesday.

    Adkins said crews have found some additional evidence there, but wouldn't say what that evidence was.

    Zahra used a prosthetic leg after losing one of her legs to bone cancer at age 5. She was reported missing Oct. 9, but police said they haven't found anyone besides her father and stepmother who report seeing her alive since Sept. 25.

    The search for her has taken law enforcement from her house in Hickory to rural land outside Morganton, from houses the family used to live in near Granite Falls to a Caldwell County landfill and many other sites.

    So far, searchers have come up empty in the hunt for her body. Police believe Zahra is dead.

    Her stepmother, Elisa Baker, was charged with obstruction of justice after police say she admitted writing a phony ransom note. Elisa Baker was brought to several search sites Tuesday, and authorities said she was cooperating with the investigation. Zahra's father Adam Baker was arrested this week on unrelated charges of assault and writing bad checks.

    No one has been charged in Zahra's disappearance.

    Read more: Prosthetic leg discovered in search for Zahra Baker - CharlotteObserver.com

    Prosthetic leg discovered in search for Zahra Baker - CharlotteObserver.com


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    new Prosthetic leg found, believed to belong to missing N.C. girl

    A prosthetic leg thought to be that of missing 10-year-old Zahra Baker has been found in a brushy area off a North Carolina road, Chief Tom Adkins of the Hickory, North Carolina, police said Wednesday.



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  9. #29
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    HICKORY, N.C. - Investigators have returned to the home where Zahra Baker lived with her father and stepmother, searching the property for evidence connected with the 10-year-old’s disappearance.

    Police returned to the home Wednesday afternoon.

    “All of a sudden a huge number of police arrived,” says neighbor Eddie Mitchell.

    Hickory police have been at the house all morning Thursday. Officials won’t say reveal what evidence they’re hoping to find, but say that new information brought them back to the house.

    "They found some stuff, I saw them photographing one of the holes there," says Mitchell.

    Meanwhile, Zahra's father is free after posting bond on charges unrelated to his daughter's disappearance.

    Adam Baker, 33, arranged for a bondsman to post his $7,000 bail, Catawba County Sheriff Chief Deputy Coy Reid said Thursday. Baker was arrested Monday on charges of assault with a deadly weapon, failure to return rental property, writing worthless checks and other charges.

    Hours before Baker's release Wednesday evening, police announced that searchers found a prosthetic leg they think could be the one worn by 10-year-old cancer survivor Zahra Baker. She was fitted with an artificial leg after losing hers to bone cancer. Authorities say the one they found is consistent with hers.

    Zahra's father reported her missing Oct. 9. Authorities think she is dead.

    Searchers found the leg at a home where Zahra's stepmother once lived, Hickory Police Maj. Clyde Deal said.

    The prosthetic leg was discovered Tuesday afternoon near some brush in Caldwell County near the home. Deal said the family lived at several locations in the county and that he wasn't sure how long ago they occupied that house. Authorities on Tuesday took Elisa Baker to a home where she once lived and Deal said she was cooperating after being jailed since the weekend her stepdaughter was reported missing.

    Deal also said a mattress found by workers at a Caldwell County landfill would be tested for DNA evidence.

    Adam and Elisa Baker told police they had last seen Zahra in her bed at their home in Hickory, about 50 miles northwest of Charlotte. 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.

    Elisa Baker, 42, has been charged with obstruction of justice. Police said she acknowledged writing a bogus ransom note found at the scene of a fire in the family's back yard on the day her stepdaughter was reported missing.
    .

    Read more: Search crews return to Zahra Baker's home in Hickory - CharlotteObserver.com


  10. #30
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    HICKORY Investigators spent the 20th day of the Zahra Baker search digging through piles of firewood brush and mulch behind the small brick house where the 10-year-old was last seen alive.

    About a dozen investigators including officers from the Hickory Police Department, FBI, SBI and K-9 teams converged to conduct a thorough search Thursday of the house at 21 21st Ave. NW and the home's backyard.

    Hickory's Street Maintenance Supervisor Doug Dupel used a backhoe to gently scrape through layer after layer of mulch and chipped limbs in the backyard of the house the Bakers rented. Hickory investigators David Rockett and Rob Burwell spent the day sifting through leaves and mulch in the back yard with rakes.

    They used pink flags to mark where they'd been.

    "It's right there. It's right where your stick is," Dupel said.

    The investigators stopped digging while Investigator Mike Beach shot a picture of the item then got a plastic evidence bag about the size of a Ziploc sandwich bag. He labeled the bag, tucked a piece of evidence inside and stowed it in the back of his Crime Scene Investigations SUV.

    The scene was repeated throughout the day.

    Investigators conducted a similarly thorough search of the Burke County site where Real Tree Services, the company where Zahra's father Adam Baker worked, on Oct. 12, three days after Zahra was reported missing.

    It is unclear why investigators have returned their focus to the family home, an area that has been searched multiple times since Oct. 9.

    "This investigation has taken several turns since Zahra was reported missing," said Chief Tom Adkins of the Hickory Police Department. "Information uncovered during the investigation brought us back here. We'll follow it until the lead is exhausted."

    He was not specific about what investigators were searching for.

    "We're looking for any evidence that may be associated with this case," Adkins said. "We're going to take whatever time we need to complete the search."

    Jennie Bost lives next door to the Bakers and said it's been difficult living beside an active crime scene.

    "Having this go on next door, it's been a nightmare," she said. "I hope she's found. I've given up hoping she's alive."

    Bost said she also never saw Zahra - or any other children - at the house

    When investigators began digging in the Bakers' yard Wednesday, Bost said there was one area she thought investigators wouldn't find anything - on the property line between Bost and the Bakers, Bost said that's where Baker removed two tree stumps.

    "It was about three or four weeks ago when Adam chewed those stumps up," Bost said. "I saw him, and knew he only chewed up those tree stumps."

    Zahra's stepmother, Elisa Baker, remains in the Catawba County jail under a $97,200 secured bond. She was charged with obstruction of justice following her Oct. 12 confession to investigators that she'd written a fake ransom note demanding $1 million. She has also been charged with more than a dozen additional crimes unrelated to Zahra's disappearance stemming from nine arrest warrants served on Oct. 10.

    Attorney Scott Reilly is representing Baker on her current charges. Attorney Lisa Dubs has been provisionally assigned to the case in anticipation of possible murder charges against Baker.

    She has communicated with police investigators through her attorneys and has accompanied them to multiple search areas.

    Adam Baker turned himself in at the Hickory Police Department at 3:12 a.m. Monday. He was arrested on charges unrelated to the disappearance of his daughter and jailed under a $7,000 secured bond. The charges include five counts of worthless checks and failure to appear.

    Baker bonded out of jail Wednesday after bondswoman Rebecca Potter of Plan B Bail Bonds posted his bail. His attorney is Mark Killian, who practices locally. There has been no provisional attorney appointed by North Carolina Indigent Defense Services, as with Elisa Baker.


    Read more: More evidence taken from home in Zahra Baker case - CharlotteObserver.com


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