Home > Crime > The Search For Zahra Baker Continues

The Search For Zahra Baker Continues

10/15/2010

She has touched the hearts of thousands around the world.  The pretty little girl with the Aussie accent belongs to all of us now.

Search teams, including police and firefighters, continue their extensive search for 10-year-old Zahra.

Several days were spent searching a five-acre plot  that included the local tree-trimming business where Zahra’s father worked.  A pond on the property was drained however, there was still no sign of Zahra.

100’s of leads that have come in on the department’s tip line since the department began looking for 10-year-old Zahra Baker.

Dogs trained to locate human remains were deployed across multiple locations in Catawba, Burke and Caldwell counties Thursday, but have not located the child.

Questions about whether more should have been done to protect Zahra amid warning signs of possible abuse still remain.   Family and friends said they saw Zahra with black eyes and bruises and that her parents kept her locked in her room.

This past spring, Zahra completed the fourth grade at Hudson Elementary, but did not show up for school this fall.

Allegedly, school staff saw signs of trouble, visited Zahra’s home, and reported concerns to the Department of Social Services.

“They utilized every resource…and any referral process that was available in the school for the well-being and welfare of Zahra,” said Caldwell County schools spokesperson Libby Brown.

The Caldwell County DSS officials have not responded to multiple requests for information.

Searchers have made multiple visits to the Hickory home where the Bakers’ moved in August or September. Police now report that Zahra was seen sometime in mid-September.

Search Warrant for Baker Home

On Wednesday, they also searched the Bakers’ previous address, a mobile home, in the Caldwell County town of Hudson.

Police are familiar with the Hudson residence as they were called there more than a dozen times for incidents including family disputes, two break-ins, and a report by Elisa Baker’s daughter that accused Baker of using her information to get utilities in her name without her permission.

A lawyer for Baker said Tuesday his client claims she had nothing to do with Zahra’s disappearance.

The stepmother, Elisa, appeared in court on obstruction charges, handcuffed and in a pink jumpsuit and answered simple “yes” and “no” to the judge’s questions regarding her admission that she penned the $1 million ransom note.

She is being held on $40,000 bond.  That is in addition to $31,500 bond set for her various unrelated charges!

“She is scared to death. It’s scary coming out here and seeing all the court reporters and courtroom of people who are so much against her right now,” said her attorney, Scott Reilly.

Her next scheduled court date is November 3.

Reilly said he would be filing a motion to get the bond reduced, calling it “excessive.” The maximum bond for such a charge is usually $10,000, he said.

Contrary to Burke County Sheriff John McDevitt’s assessment of Adam Baker, Hickory police say Zahra’s father has cooperated with investigators throughout the search for his daughter and is continuing to do so.

“He’s spending a lot of time with us. He’s continuing to submit to daily interviews and after those interviews, he is allowed to go home,” said Hickory police. “He has not asked for a lawyer and he has not made us aware that he has retained an attorney.”

As I was prepping this story Val, with loyal reader, george, posted some excellent work (a must read!) at The Hinky Meter: The short story is, Elisa Baker had apparently never been served with notice of almost ALL the charges she was arrested for on Sunday, UNTIL Sunday when authorities finally found her!

Unless he is blind, deaf and dumb, I do not believe for a moment that Adam Baker isn’t guilty, equally as much as Elisa!

Hickory Record

CNN

ABC

Herald Online

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  1. Ritanita
    10/15/2010 at 10:03 am

    Well, my morning blog-review has turned up both your article and Val’s. Two goldmines for sure. Thanks for the link to the search warrant for the home.

    Step-mom is one nasty piece of work, that’s for sure. She seems to know how to scam even her own family!

    I agree about Dad. No way he doesn’t know what was going on… he seems to be “helping” but not helping at the same time.

    I hope this case breaks open soon. We don’t need another Haleigh Cummings situation. LE here, however, already have enough to arrest BOTH parents if they want to. Guess Dad’s trying to help enough to keep out of jail…

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