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 ZAHRA CLAIRE BAKER

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sanny
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PostSubject: Search Continues For Missing NC 10 Year Old   Sun Oct 10, 2010 6:25 pm

Search Continues For Missing NC 10 Year Old







An AMBER alert has been issued in NC for Zahra Claire Baker

By Associated Press

Published: October 10, 2010
Updated: October 10, 2010 - 2:26 PM



HICKORY, N.C. --

Hickory police have issued an Amber Alert for a 10-year-old girl who was last seen sleeping in her own bed.

The Hickory Police Department said in a news release Sunday that the stepmother of Zahra Clare Baker has been arrested on unrelated outstanding charges.

A police spokesman did not immediately respond to messages seeking more details on charges against Elisa Baker and a Catawba County jail officer had no record of her being booked.

Zahra was discovered missing Saturday afternoon by her father and stepmother who told police they searched for the girl for about an hour before reporting her missing around 2 p.m. They had last seen her 12 hours earlier asleep in her bed.

If you have any information regarding this abduction, call the Hickory Police Department immediately at (828) 328-5551, or call 911 or *HP.
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PostSubject: Stepmother of missing Hickory girl arrested   Sun Oct 10, 2010 6:29 pm

Stepmother of missing Hickory girl arrested






Zahra Claire Baker (left), Elisa Baker (right)


Hickory, N.C. — 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.
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.
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PostSubject: Police 'deeply concerned' about welfare of Zahara Baker   Mon Oct 11, 2010 8:19 pm

Police "deeply concerned" about welfare of Zahra Baker


Girl's stepmother arrested on unrelated warrants




Next Image > < Previous Image


Zahra was reported missing Saturday afternoon.

Credit: James Nix / Independent Tribune






  • Zahra was reported missing Saturday afternoon. Credit: James Nix / Independent Tribune


  • Hickory Police are looking for Zahra Baker, who was last seen in her bed Saturday. Authorities have issued a statewide Amber Alert. Baker, who is hearing-impaired, is seen here during a hearing aid giveaway at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May. Credit: By James Nix/Concord/Kannapolis Independent-Tribune


  • Zahra Baker, who is hearing impaired, is seen here getting a hearing aid at an event in May at Charlotte Motor Speedway. At right is Zahra's stepmother, Elesa Baker. Credit: James Nix / Independent Tribune


  • Zahra is seen here at a hearing-aid event in May at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Credit: James Nix / Independent Tribune


  • Zahra and her stepmother, Elisa Baker, at a hearing-aid giveaway in Charlotte. Credit: James Nix / Independent Tribune




Related Links

» Link: Zahra's father on "Good Morning America"



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INVESTIGATION UPDATE Hickory Police Chief Tom Adkins said this morning there are a lot of questions ...


INVESTIGATION UPDATE
Hickory Police Chief Tom Adkins said this morning there are a lot of questions about the case. Police investigators are looking at leads, he said, about “what her life was like before her disappearance.”
He said teachers in Caldwell County are being interviewed. Zahra is home-schooled, but she did attend Caldwell public schools for a time.
Adkins the said the family has moved around since coming to the area, and former neighbors will also be contacted by police.
“We’re trying to establish a timeline” of events before and after she was reported missing.
Adkins said it is “very unlikely” she is a runaway. He referred to her hearing aids that are still at her home.
The chief would not speculate on motive or possible suspects.
View more




By Richard Gould
Published: October 10, 2010
Updated: October 11, 2010 - 2:10 PM

HICKORY --


Police are continuing their search for a 10-year-old girl who was reported missing at 2 p.m. Saturday. Officers have searched the girl’s northwest Hickory neighborhood with K-9 units but they have not found Zahra Clare Baker.

Maria Claxton, of a local search dog team, led her dog behind crime scene tape and throughout the stacks of firewood and brush in the Bakers’ backyard while their pit bulls strained at their leashes and whined. Then she took the dog to the Bakers’ Chevy Suburban and Toyota Celica, into the crawl space under the family’s house and inside the home. The search turned up nothing.

Zahra’s father and stepmother, Adam and Elesa Baker reported her missing from her home at 21 21st Avenue NW, and told police they’d last seen her sleeping in her bed at about 2:20 a.m. Saturday.

Police interviewed the Bakers for several hours early in the investigation and officers are working to corroborate their statements.

They were allowed to leave the police station after their interview. During their investigation, officers discovered inconsistencies in the Bakers’ story and the couple has not been ruled out as suspects in their daughter’s disappearance.

Elesa Baker arrested on other charges

Elesa Baker was arrested at about 10:45 a.m. Sunday on nine unrelated warrants and charges.

  • Six counts of worthless checks in Catawba County
  • Six counts of worthless checks in Caldwell County
  • Failure to return rental property in Caldwell County
  • Larceny by employee in Burke County
  • Failure to appear on three counts of communicating threats in Caldwell County
  • Failure to appear on charges of driving without a license and unsafe tires in Caldwell County


Police initially suspected that a stranger might have abducted Zahra. New information has surfaced and stranger abduction appears less likely, though no possibilities have been ruled out at this point, said Hickory Police Chief Tom Adkins.

Zahra is about 5-feet 1-inch tall and weighs about 85 pounds. She is deaf and has a prosthetic left leg. Her prosthesis is missing, but her hearing aids were left behind in her home.

“It is highly uncharacteristic for her to leave home without her hearing aids,” said Captain Thurman Whisnant of the Hickory Police Department. “According to the interviews we’ve conducted, it’s very unlikely for her to leave her house without her parents.”

“We are deeply concerned for the welfare of Zahra, but remain hopeful that we will locate her safe and unharmed,” Adkins said.

The FBI is assisting Hickory Police Investigators in their search for Zahra. An Amber Alert will be in place until she is found.

Zahra’s biological mother is an Australian native and has not seen her daughter since she was about 8 months old. She is believed to be in Australia and is not considered a suspect, Whisnant said.

Anyone with information about Zahra’s whereabouts is asked to call the Hickory Police Department at 328-5551.
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PostSubject: Relative: Missing Zahara Baker had 'horrible' home life   Tue Oct 12, 2010 11:32 am


Relative: Missing Zahra Baker had 'horrible' home life


New neighbors never saw Hickory girl. Police dogs indicate possible human remains in family's SUV.


By Steve Lyttle and Ely Portillo
slyttle@charlotteobserver.com; elyportillo@charlotteobserver.com
Posted: Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2010



Full Slideshow

« Prev of 5Next »






  • In this May 2010 photo shows Zahra Claire Baker, 10, waiting to get a hearing aid at an event Charlotte Motor Speedway. A North Carolina police chief said Monday that investigators are having trouble finding any non-relatives who saw a disabled girl alive in the weeks leading up to a weekend report that she had vanished. (AP Photo/Independent Tribune, James Nix)
    Buy Photo | Store




  • Alison Eckard, right, prepares to distribute fliers printed by Carolyn Duraski, center, and her 11-year-old daughter, Mackenzie Duraski. Carolyn Duraski worked in an office across the street from the Bakers' home, but she says she never saw any child go in or out of the house. JEFF WILLHELM - jwillhelm@charlotteobserver.comBuy Photo | Store



  • Zahra Baker and her stepmother, Elisa Baker, attend a hearing-aid giveaway in May. JAMES NIX - INDEPENDENT TRIBUNE


More Information



Police continued their search Tuesday for a missing 10-year-old Hickory girl, amid growing reports that Zahra Clare Baker was living a troubled home life.
One relative told a nationwide television audience "this was something ... we knew was going to happen."
Hickory police say they plan to provide an update shortly before midday, but no major new developments have been reported overnight in the case.
Zahra was reported missing Saturday, but police say they are having trouble finding anyone outside the household who has seen the girl for several weeks.
Brittany Bentley, who is married to a nephew of the missing girl's stepmother, Elisa Baker, appeared Tuesday morning on the CBS "Early Show" and said Zahra showed signs of being unhappy at home. Elisa Baker has been called a "person of interest" in the case by Hickory police.
Speaking to CBS on Tuesday morning, Bentley said, "I just think this was something for a long time that we knew was going to happen -- everybody that was close to the family."
Bentley, 21, said she sometimes had Zahra at her house for a weekend, and that the young girl, a cancer survivor who has a prosthetic leg and requires the use of hearing aids, would become upset when it was time to return home.
Bentley said Zahra told her she was locked in her room much of the time and was allowed "five minutes a day to eat, and that was all."
"She was beat almost every time I was over there for just the smallest things," Bentley added. "Elisa would get mad, she would take it out on Zahra, things the kid didn't deserve. She just had a horrible home life."
Bentley also said she sometimes saw facial bruises on Zahra. When she asked her what had happened, Zahra seemed frightened, Bentley said.
"She was scared to death," she said. "She wouldn't say anything."
Bentley also said she and her family had not seen Zahra in two months.
On Monday morning, Zahra's father, Adam Baker, appeared on ABC-TV's "Good Morning America" and said it is possible his wife might have been involved in the girl's disappearance.
Elisa Baker was arrested by Hickory police Sunday on outstanding warrants for a number of charges not related to the case.
Police have said they discovered inconsistencies in Elisa Baker's stories and said she has been uncooperative.
Meanwhile, police were trying to determine exactly when Zahra Baker really did disappear.
Her parents phoned in a missing person report about 2:30 p.m. Saturday, but several neighbors told the Observer on Monday they never saw Zahra at her parents' rented home and were surprised to learn a girl lived there. The Bakers moved into the house about six weeks ago, apparently from Caldwell County.
"I never saw a sign of their daughter," said next-door neighbor Charles Bost. He said he chatted regularly with Adam Baker over the fence separating their backyards, but he said Baker never mentioned having a daughter.
"I've been out in the backyard quite a bit, and I've never seen that little girl," Bost said.
Meanwhile, a search warrant revealed that police dogs detected the scent of human remains on cars that belong to Adam and Elisa Baker.
Hickory police Chief Tom Adkins said investigators were trying to determine a timeline -- the last time Zahra had been seen by someone outside the household; when, or if, she had been seen at the house in Hickory; and when she actually disappeared.
There were other strange twists in the case.
Authorities were called to the Bakers' house, on 21st Avenue N.W., about 5 a.m. Saturday, in response to a mulch fire in the yard and a report that gasoline was poured into an SUV.
The search warrant says officers found a ransom note on the SUV, addressed to a "Mr. Coffey," who was identified as Adam Baker's boss, Mark Coffey. The mostly unpunctuated note read: "Mr. Coffey, you like being in control now who is in control we have your daughter and your ... son is next unless you do what is asked 1000000 ($1 million) unmarked will be in touch soon."
The words "no cops" also were written on the note.
Police checked on Coffey and were told his family was fine.
Then, about 2 p.m. Saturday, Adam Baker called police and reported Zahra missing. Baker told police he and his wife last saw Zahra asleep in her bed, about 12 hours earlier.
The Associated Press contributed.

**TheCharlotteObserver
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PostSubject: Hickory girl's disappearance now homicide case   Tue Oct 12, 2010 2:58 pm

Hickory girl's disappearance now homicide case





Zahra Claire Baker, 10

Zahra Claire Baker, 10

Zahra Claire Baker, 10

Zahra Claire Baker, 10

Zahra Claire Baker, 10

Zahra Claire Baker, 10

Elisa Baker
1 / 7






Hickory, N.C. — Hickory police have canceled an Amber Alert for a missing 10-year-old and shifted their focus to a homicide investigation, after speaking with the girl’s stepmother Monday night.
Chief Tom Adkins said at a news conference Tuesday morning that Zahra Claire Baker’s stepmother, Elisa Baker, confessed to writing a ransom note found at the house where the girl lived.
She then asked for an attorney, he said.
Elisa Baker, who was arrested Sunday on unrelated charges, now faces one count of felony obstruction of justice in Zahra’s disappearance, Adkins said.
He did not take any questions and did not explain why the case was now being considered a homicide. He said that no one outside the immediate family has seen the girl, who was home-schooled, for a month.
Investigators also want to interview an inspector who had been or was scheduled to go to the home at 21 21st Ave. NW in Hickory.
“We need the public to come forward if they think they’ve seen Zahra within the time frame,” Adkins said.
Anyone with information that could assist investigators is urged to contact the Hickory Police Department at 828-328-5551 or their local law enforcement agency.
Zahra was reported missing Saturday by her father, but authorities have cast doubt on what he and the stepmother told them.







Uncertainty on when she was last alive has stalled efforts to enlist volunteers to search for her.
“We understand the public wants to help find Zahra. The problem is we cannot confirm with any confidence how long Zahra has been missing,” Adkins said. “Without this information, we cannot positively select the area to search for her.”
A search warrant made public Monday indicated that police dogs detected the scent of human remains on a sedan and SUV belonging to the father and stepmother.
Police responding to a fire in the family’s back yard also found what appeared to be a ransom note on the windshield of Zahra’s father’s car, according to the warrant.
Adam Baker, who has not been charged in the case, said in an interview with “Good Morning America” on Monday that his wife told him that she last saw Zahra sleeping in her bed around 2:30 a.m. Saturday.
He said he was in a big panic after the fire, which was reported around 5 a.m., but that he didn’t check on his daughter.
Police were notified around 2:30 p.m. Saturday.
Family friends described Zahra as a girl who was slow to open up to new people but constantly smiled in spite of her health problems – two bouts of cancer that led to the loss of her left leg and hearing.
Zahra uses two hearing aids, which were left at the house, and a prosthetic left leg from the knee down, police said.

Copyright 2010 by WRAL
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PostSubject: Stepmother's MySpace page: 'I am Gothic '   Tue Oct 12, 2010 3:03 pm

Stepmother's MySpace page: 'I am Gothic'


By Steve Lyttle
slyttle@charlotteobserver.com
Posted: Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2010


Elisa Baker, the stepmother of missing Zahra Baker, describes herself on her MySpace page as a "Gothic" and said in one posting that "your kids rip your heart out."
Baker, 42, has been described as a "person of interest" by Hickory police in what investigators now say is a homicide case.
Police say they cannot find anyone -- other than her father and stepmother -- who has seen 10-year-old Zahra Baker in at least a month, although Elisa Baker and her husband, Adam, didn't report her missing from their Hickory home until Saturday afternoon.
Hickory police were called to the Bakers' house about 5 a.m. Saturday after a report of a brush fire on the property, and a search warrant indicates officers found a ransom note in a vehicle at the house. Hickory police Chief Tom Adkins said Tuesday that Elisa Baker admitted to writing the ransom note and has been charged with felony obstruction of justice.
Elisa Baker's MySpace page is titled "Miss Gothicfairy" and includes a mix of rock and country music, a number of personal notes from Baker, and photos that seem to show Zahra Baker and her stepmother's other children.
One photo of Zahra has a caption -- one would assume, written by her stepmother -- that describes the young girl as "the dark child LOL."
In a post written Feb. 22, 2009, Baker wrote,. "I am so sick of people judging me by how I look. I am Gothic and very proud of it."
The post, full of spelling and grammatical errors, continues, "all i hear is you'll grow out of it one day or when you gonna be normal. well first of, its something ur born into so you dont just grow out of it and to me this is normal."
She added, "I'm E'lesa by god and thats who I am til I die."
On June 16, 2009, Baker wrote, "And your kids rip your heart out. Its a never-endin circle."
On the same day, she wrote that she has an "amazing husband" and said he keeps her positive, "even when everyone else treats me like c***."
One person posted a response to that note late Tuesday morning, writing, "Yeah, we can tell family means nothing to you. What did you do to that little girl. Where is Zahra?"
Her MySpace page can be found at www.myspace.com/gothicfairy6668.





**TheCharlotteObserver
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PostSubject: Zahra Baker case: Presumed dead, search for remains continues   Wed Oct 13, 2010 9:16 am

Zahra Baker case: Presumed dead, search for remains continues



Posted on October 13th, 2010 by Valhall
Around 50 police officers spent the night searching a property on Hartland Road for any signs that will confirm their fears – that 10-year-old Zahra Baker is dead and her body disposed in some vile manner on the property. The property is owned by a foreman of the tree trimming company for which Zahra’s sperm-donor, Adam Baker, works. It is used as a storage area for the large equipment used by the company, with that equipment including a wood chipper. There are mulch piles and piles of wood chips and piles of uncut felled trees on the property as well. Cadaver dogs have hit on the scent of human remains on the wood chipper and on a pile of mulch. In fact, the cadaver dogs are reported to have had multiple hits on the property.
Adam Baker was at the scene last evening with investigators, but reports state Baker is not being cooperative or “sincere” in the search for little Zahra’s remains. While Zahra was just reported missing on Saturday after a bizarre set of events including a brush fire on the Baker property, a report of Adam Baker’s SUV being doused with gasoline, and a ransom note being discovered by law enforcement made out to Baker’s boss, Mark Coffey, it now appears Zahra may have been missing (dead?) for well over a month. A man identified as Mr. Green states he visited the Baker family residence “weeks ago” and was told by Elisa Baker, Zahra’s stepmother, who has now been charged with obstruction of justice after confessing to writing the fake ransom note, that Zahra was sick and couldn’t leave her room. The neighbors never even knew a child lived there.
More information is coming out about Elisa Baker courtesy of her own family. In addition to accounts yesterday from Elisa’s nephew’s former wife Brittany Bentley, who claims Elisa threatened to kill her, her husband and their child, as well as accounts of Elisa’s abuse of Zahra as told by Brittany’s mother, Elisa’s own sisters stated yesterday she was a “pathological liar and a hypochondriac”. According to the sisters Elisa has complained about fake illnesses repeatedly for herself and her children over the years. Those claims have included Elisa parading one of her daughters around in a wheelchair claiming the girl had leukemia and was dying. Fortunately the child didn’t cooperate much, apparently, as she never got ill.
Meanwhile, Mark Coffey, Adam Baker’s boss and fake “target” of the ransom note, now believed to have been written either to throw off law enforcement or provoke a means to declare Zahra missing by two dumb fools who won’t get away with this…has had to move his family out of their home because he fears publicity over the case will bring some freak out who thinks Mr. Coffey might really be able to fork over a million bucks if they snatch HIS daughter.
Elisa Baker makes her first court appearance today.
Valhall.
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PostSubject: Attorney: Stepmother Is Scared To Death   Wed Oct 13, 2010 2:57 pm

Attorney: Stepmother Is Scared To Death

Posted: 3:45 pm EDT October 12, 2010
Updated: 2:22 pm EDT October 13, 2010

HICKORY, N.C. -- Investigators said Tuesday they believe someone killed 10-year-old Zahra Clare Baker, who was reported missing over the weekend.

Elisa Baker’s court appearance was brief on Wednesday, when she appeared before a judge on the charge of obstruction of justice at the Catawba County Justice Center in Newton.



VIDEO: Elisa Baker Makes Court Appearance



Baker answered “Yes” and “No” to the judge’s questions with two attorneys at her side, but didn't say much else.

Police said she has not cooperated since her step daughter's disappearance on Saturday from the family’s home in Hickory.

Police said Baker admitted to writing the ransom note found outside the home the day Zahra disappeared.

Her attorney, Scott Reilly, told the judge he believes her $40,000 bond is too high.

Channel 9 spoke with Reilly and prosecutors about the case on Wednesday afternoon. "She is scared to death. She's worried if her family is out here and she is still emotional. It's scary coming out here and seeing all the court reporters and courtroom of people who are so much against her right now," Reilly said.

"I know this is a very emotional time for law enforcement. The community is upset. We have a high degree of faith that law enforcement is going to solve this case. It’s going to be a high priority for the DA’s office when they do,” said District Attorney, Jay Gaither.

Scott Reilly told Chanel 9 that they could have a bond hearing as early as Monday.

Channel 9 has also learned that the massive search that took place late Tuesday and into Wednesday has been called off for now but detectives are following more than a dozen leads and could return to the area.

Police said Zahra's father, Adam Baker, was with authorities during that search.

On Tuesday, police said the search for Zahra had shifted to a homicide investigation, canceling a missing child alert for the shy but upbeat girl who used hearing aids and a prosthetic leg because of bone cancer.





A candlelight vigil has been scheduled for Zahra who went missing nearly four days ago.

The public vigil for 10-year-old Zahra is expected to take place Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at East Hickory Baptist Church on 16th Street Southeast in Hickory.

Police searched a wooded area throughout the night Tuesday and into Wednesday for the girl who has been missing since Saturday morning.

The wooded area is dozens of miles from where Zahra Baker was last seen.

The scene is down a dead end dirt road off of Hartland Road, north of Morganton, where police spent more than seven hours looking for clues around a wood chipper and in mulch piles.

About 50 people, including the FBI, Hickory Police and Burke County Sheriff's Office responded to the scene. They're focusing their investigation on a mound of debris on the property. Heavy equipment and flood lights were brought out to remove the heavy brush and debris.



IMAGES:('/slideshow/]Crews Search Late Into Night For Clues
VIDEO: Crews Search Late Into the Night for Clues in Zahra Baker Case

RAW VIDEO: CHOPPER: Crews Search Debris For Clues



Police were there all night long in what they described as a "painstaking process" of looking for evidence in the mound.

The Burke County Sheriff told Eyewitness News just before 11 p.m. that information keeps leading them to that spot, but there's no proof yet if they're in the right place.

Zahra's father was out at the scene Tuesday night, but the sheriff also told Eyewitness News that he thinks the father isn't being "cooperative" or "sincere."



VIDEO: Investigators Searching Wooded Area In Missing Girl Case



Alvin Zero Webb lives near the area where authorities are searching and told Channel 9 that deputies visited his home on Monday. "I'm worried. I'm worried if she's OK or not," he said.

Law enforcement sources tells Eyewitness News Zahra's father, Adam Baker, worked in the tree trimming business and had access to the equipment on the property.

Deputies say cadaver dogs hit on the equipment and the mulch leading to the intensive search Monday.

"They were looking for blood," Webb said.

Channel 9 asked "Is that what they told you?"

"Yes. In a round about way, yes," he said.

Police said that Zahra's father is with police on the scene as they search for his daughter.





The Hickory police chief spoke for only a few minutes on Tuesday, but his words carried the greatest impact so far in the case.

Choking back his emotions, Adkins, made the difficult announcement: "The Amber Alert for Zahra Baker will be canceled today. And the decision to focus this case from a missing child will turn into a homicide investigation."

An hour later, Zahra's stepmother, Elisa Baker, with her head down, appeared before a magistrate on the obstruction charge.

Channel 9 has learned Elisa Baker called attorney Scott Riley after being interviewed by police. "I spoke to her at 3 a.m. this morning. I went to see her at 7:30 a.m. this morning. She still hadn't had any sleep. She's very emotional, very upset,” Riley said.

Riley told Channel 9 that Baker claims she had no involvement in Zahra's disappearance, but police say outside immediate family no one has seen the 10-year-old for a month.

As each day passes, police become more and more concerned about the outcome of the case.

"We understand the public wants to help to find Zahra and wants to form search teams to find her. The problem is we cannot confirm with any confidence how long Zahra has been missing," Adkins said.



TIMELINE: Check Out A Timeline Of Events In Missing Zahra Baker Case

SLIDESHOW: Zahra Baker - Missing 10-Year-Old Hickory Girl

SLIDESHOW: Search For Zahra Baker Continues

VIDEO: Team Coverage: Missing Girl's Stepmother Focus Of Investigation



Police said, the timeline of the case is one of the largest obstacles for investigators.

Police tell Channel 9 they are having trouble finding anyone outside family who has seen Zahra in the past month.

Here is a brief timeline of the case:

Zahra's stepmother told police she last saw the girl asleep in her bed Saturday morning around 2:30 a.m.

• Just three hours later, firefighters were called to the Hickory home for a brush fire.

• There, they found a ransom note written to Adam Baker's boss, Mark Coffey, threatening his daughter.

Zahra was reported missing around 2 p.m. Saturday afternoon and the search for her began.

• On Sunday morning, Zahra's stepmother was arrested on outstanding warrants unrelated to the case.

• On Monday, police asked anyone who had seen Zahra recently to come forward.

If you have seen Zahra or have any information that can help investigators with the case please call Hickory police at 828-328-5551.





Man Named In Ransom Note Worries For His Family

As the case has now shifted to a homicide investigation, the search for Zahra body continues, the ransom note is a key piece to the investigation

According to police, Baker’s stepmother has admitted to writing the fake ransom note and leaving it at the family’s home.

The note said that a kidnapping had taken place and it was addressed to Zahra's father’s employer, Mark Coffey.

Police said that the note was a fake created by Elisa Baker. “They feel like the ransom note was just a distraction,” Coffey said.

Coffey told Channel 9 he fears for his family safety. “I feel like anyone would. I don’t like it,” Coffey said.



VIDEO: Man Named In Ransom Note Worries For His Family



Coffey told Channel 9 that he believes someone may now think he has $1 million and could try to kidnap a member of his family.

“My family has had to leave their home for safety reasons because now we don’t know who is going to come out of the woodworks,” he said.

Coffey owns the house where Zahra lived and was last seen alive. Her family was renting it from him.

Zahra's father also works for Coffey's company. He remembers the little girl who lost her leg in a fight with cancer. “She’s a sweet little girl. A sweet little girl,” he said.

Coffey told Channel 9 that he knows nothing about the investigation or anything about what happened to the little girl he had only seen a few times, but still he worries about her and said for us to pray “That we can find her alive,” he said.

PREVIOUS STORY: Chief: Missing Girl Case Has Turned To Homicide Investigation
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PostSubject: Missing girl's stepmother has first court appearance   Wed Oct 13, 2010 3:10 pm

Missing girl's stepmom has first court appearance








Credit: ROBERT C. REED / RECORD
Elisa Baker, stepmother of Zahra Clare Baker, appears before District Court Judge Gregory Hayes Wednesday morning. Baker is flanked by her attorneys, Jared Amos (left) and Scott Reilly (right), while she listens to Judge Hayes read the charges against her. She is being charged with felony obstruction of justice for writing a ransom note.


Related Links

» Gallery: Disappearance of Zahra Baker
» Article: Neighbors never saw missing girl
» Article: Investigators search Burke site again
» Link: Miss Gothicfairy: Elisa Baker's myspace page
» Link: View the Baker search warrant




By Sarah Newell williamson
Published: October 13, 2010


winstonsalem_782:http://www2.hickoryrecord.com/news/2010/oct/13/missing-girls-stepmom-has-first-court-appearance-ar-454588/
HICKORY --
As Elisa Baker walked into the courtroom in her bubblegum pink jail-issued uniform, she looked down at the floor, her dark brown hair hiding her face from those seated in the gallery. Her hands and feet clinked in the handcuffs and shackles.

The Catawba County Sheriff’s Office brought in additional detectives and deputies for security prior to Baker coming into the courtroom.

Baker is the stepmother to Zahra Clare Baker, 10. Zahra was first reported missing at 2 p.m. Saturday, although Hickory police suspect she may have been missing longer than that. No one other than family has seen Zahra in more than a month.

On Sunday, Baker was arrested on nine unrelated charges to Zahra. Hickory police went to the Catawba County jail on Tuesday and interviewed Baker, where she admitted writing the ransom note found on one of the Bakers’ car, demanding $1 million. An arrest warrant was taken out for obstruction of justice.

When she appeared Thursday morning before Judge Greg Hayes for a first appearance on this charge, Baker kept her lips pursed much of the time, looking meek and timid.

Hayes told Baker the charge of common law obstruction of justice, a class H felony, carries with it a maximum of 30 months in jail, and asked if she understood it. She quietly said yes.

Baker had with her two attorneys — Scott Reilly, who was court-appointed for the obstruction of justice charge, and Jared Amos, who was appointed for the larceny by employee charge in Burke County.

Reilly said he planned to file a motion for bond reduction.

“Forty thousand (dollars) is in far excess for this charge,” he said.

Reilly said he would like the bond to be set closer to the $10,000 guideline for an obstruction of justice charge. He hopes the bond reduction hearing will be set as early as Monday.

Baker’s total bond is set at $72,200. This includes the obstruction of justice charge, as well as the previous charges of larceny by employee, four counts of communicating threats, four counts of driving while license is revoked, six counts of worthless checks, unsafe tires, operating a vehicle with no insurance and fictitious or revoked registration/tag.

“She’s scared to death,” Reilly said. “She’s emotional.”

He said he can’t talk about what Baker has said about Zahra.

“She’s upset with being in jail and away from her family,” Reilly said.

District Attorney Jay Gaither called the Zahra case one that has demanded the community’s utmost attention.

“This is a high priority for law enforcement and it will be a high priority for the district attorney’s office when we get it,” he said.

Gaither said it’s been emotionally straining on the community, particularly because the photos of Zahra have tugged at people’s hearts.

“The smile of Zahra sticks out,” he said. “She’s such a darling child. We fear the worst, but hope for the best.”

Baker’s probable cause hearing is set for Nov. 3.
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PostSubject: Vigil held for Zahra   Wed Oct 13, 2010 11:14 pm

Vigil held for Zahra


“Ten-year-old life should be about fun, playing and having a good time.”








Credit: Sarah Newell Williamson | Hickory Daily Record
Three women locked arms and sang "Amazing Grace" at a vigil for Zahra Baker Wednesday night. Zahra, 10, was reported missing by her father and stepmother on Oct. 9, but Hickory police believe she's been missing for close to a month. East Hickory Baptist Church held a vigil for Zahra on Wednesday, with about 200 people attending.

By Sarah Newell williamson
Published: October 13, 2010



HICKORY --

More than 250 people showed up at a vigil for Zahra Clare Baker Wednesday night. Some came with hope that she would be found alive by searchers. Some came because they wanted to support the community. Others came to pray.

Many wondered why a 10-year-old girl with a smile so bright could have harm done to her.

“She always had a smile on her face, and that’s the best thing about her,” said Cynthia McCurry, 11.

Zahra was first reported missing at 2 p.m. Saturday, although Hickory police suspect she may have been missing longer than that. No one other than family has seen Zahra in a month.

On Sunday, Zahra’s stepmother, Elisa Baker, 42, was arrested on nine unrelated charges to Zahra’s disappearance. Hickory police interviewed Baker on Tuesday, and she admitted writing the ransom note found on one of the Bakers’ car, demanding $1 million. She has since been arrested for obstruction of justice and had her first court appearance on the charge. Law enforcement is still searching for Zahra.

East Hickory Baptist Church held the vigil for Zahra because they realized the community needed it. The church’s deacons decided to hold a prayer vigil for her.

“We’ve had people calling the church and asking for directions all day,” said Brian Gragg, a deacon at the church. “This story has touched everybody’s hearts.”

He said he hoped the vigil helps people realize that God loves them.

“And it would be great if Zahra is found alive,” Gragg said. “It’s just a sad story, but we have hope.”

East Hickory Baptist Church held the vigil next to its playground for symbolic reasons, said church member David King.

“Ten-year-old life should be about fun, playing and having a good time,” he said.

Ragan Martin decided to come to the vigil because she’s followed the news about Zahra.

“I felt compelled to come,” she said. “Everybody should really be paying attention to their children. When they see violence, they should speak up.”

With Martin was Serenity Bapties, 14. She said she came because the disappearance affected her.

“I felt like I should,” she said. “It’s different that it happened so close to home.”

During the vigil, East Hickory Baptist’s minister offered prayer as well as words of support. Many at the vigil wiped away tears as they sang “Amazing Grace.”

Several people in the crowd implored that others love their own children and remember how special they are. Others encouraged people to speak out if they heard or saw something happen to someone in the community that was wrong.

“It’s been assumed that something’s happened to Zahra. If that’s true, they’ll have to deal with that,” Gragg said. “If they don’t confess, they will have to stand before God one day. The same one that said ‘do not kill’ also said ‘do not lie.’”

A family friend of the Bakers was also at the vigil.

“The family tried, they did honestly try to get help,” said Lindsey Parker, a friend of Zahra’s sister. “DSS was called three times.”

Also at the vigil were people who had family members who had been murdered. They wanted those in Catawba County to know that support was there, if needed.

“She’d already beat cancer, one of the worst things in life,” said Dwayne Baker, father to 19-year-old Travis, who was missing for two years and found dead in June 2009.

Dwayne was ready to support any searches for Zahra, or to support her family members. Dwayne said he knows first hand what it’s like when a child is missing, and can help Zahra’s family members get through it.

Most at the vigil were hoping for a positive outcome in law enforcement’s search for Zahra.

“It’s just sad. I just hope they find her and she’s alive,” said Jeanette Surratt. “If not, then she’s gone to a better place than we are in.”
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PostSubject: Where were adults Zahra needed to keep her safe?   Wed Oct 13, 2010 11:39 pm

Where were adults Zahra needed to keep her safe?


Heart-wrenching case of missing girl is a wake-up call.




Posted: Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2010





Slideshow
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  • Baker


  • Zahra




The case of missing 10-year-old Zahra Baker is now a homicide investigation, Hickory police said Tuesday.
That should haunt adults who were part of her life. Adults failed Zahra. She didn't get the protection she desperately needed, protection we adults are obligated to provide to all children.
The words of Brittany Bentley, who is married to a nephew of Zahra's stepmother, tell a chilling story. Bentley appeared Tuesday morning on the CBS "Early Show" and said Zahra sometimes stayed at her house for a weekend. She said the young girl, a cancer survivor who has a prosthetic leg and requires the use of hearing aids, would become upset when it was time to return home.
Bentley said Zahra told her she was locked in her room much of the time and was allowed "five minutes a day to eat and that was all... She was beat almost every time I was over there for just the smallest things," Bentley said. Zahra's stepmother "would get mad; she would take it out on Zahra, things the kid didn't deserve. She just had a horrible home life.
"This was something for a long time that we knew was going to happen - everybody that was close to the family."
The Department of Social Services in Caldwell County reportedly investigated abuse charges when the family lived there. But clearly Zahra, whose twinkly eyes and easy smile mesmerize you in photos, remained in harm's way. She needed more from all those adults in her life who had the power to protect her.
When Hickory police chief Tom Adkins cancelled the Amber alert Tuesday for Zahra, his sad face mirrored the emotions of many of us. This was not the end we had hoped for but it was the end we feared.
On Monday, police dogs detected possible human remains in the SUV where a ransom note was found, and in another car parked at the Bakers' house. Elisa Baker, Zahra's stepmother, is in jail charged with a felony after admitting she wrote the ransom note that was found last weekend. Police have called her "a person of interest" in Zahra's case. Zahra's father Adam acknowledged Monday on "Good Morning America" that "it could be possible" that Elisa had something to do with the child's disappearance.
This case is heart wrenchingly sad. Zahra deserved better than she got from whoever did her harm, and from other adults who suspected she was abused and didn't do enough to help her. Children depend on adults. All of us must commit to being there to protect them.



The Charlotte Observer.
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PostSubject: Prayers for Zahra Baker as crews drain pond in search for missing Hickory girl   Wed Oct 13, 2010 11:42 pm

Prayers for Zahra Baker as crews drain pond in search for missing Hickory girl


Stepmother charged with obstruction after police say she admitted writing a fake ransom note to thwart investigation.



By Ely Portillo and Franco Ordoñez
Posted: Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2010



Full Slideshow

« Prev of 5Next »






  • Shellie Moore, from left, Janet Coffey, and Sherry Revis attend a candlelight vigil for 10-year-old Zahra Clare Baker on Wednesday, October 13, 2010 at East Hickory Baptist Church in Hickory, North Carolina. Police expanded their search for the missing girl and drained a pond near the tree-trimming company where her father has worked. (Robert Lahser/Charlotte Observer/MCT)


  • People sang, prayed and listened during a candlelight vigil for Zahra Baker near the playground at East Hickory Baptist Church Wednesday night in Hickory. The 10-year-old girl is missing and the subject of a homicide investigation. ROBERT LAHSER - rlahser@charlotteobserver.comBuy Photo | Store


Photo from Airstar 36. Crews searching for Zahra Baker unrolled hoses and started draining a pond this afternoon.




Zahra Baker attends a Starkey Hearing Foundation event at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 10. Zahra, along with nearly 100 other hearing impaired people from the Carolinas, was fitted that day with hearing aids. In addition to her hearing problems, Zahra lost a leg to bone cancer. COURTESY OF CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY





  • 10/12/2010 - Hickory police chief Tom Adkins fights back tears as he speaks at a press conference on Tuesday, announcing that the search for Zahra Baker was being changed to a homicide investigation. JEFF WILLHELM - jwillhelm@charlotteobserver.comBuy Photo | Store


More Information






HICKORY -- Several hundred people gathered at a local church for a candlelight vigil for 10-year-old Zahra Baker Wednesday night, as police expanded their search for the missing girl and drained a pond near the tree-trimming company where her father has worked.
People sang and prayed for Zahra outside the East Hickory Baptist Church, their children playing on swings and a jungle gym nearby.
"We just want to lift up little Zahra as we think about the tragedies in her life," Deacon David King told the crowd.
Early Wednesday, Zahra's stepmother Elisa Baker made her first appearance in court on obstruction of justice charges after investigators said she admitted she wrote a phony ransom note found at the family's home on Saturday.
Police say the note was designed to throw investigators off-track in their search for answers in the girl's disappearance, a case they're now calling a homicide.
At the vigil, Lindsey Parker told the crowd that family members had reported suspected abuse of Zahra to the Department of Social Services on three occasions. She said she was speaking on behalf of Brittany Starbuck, one of Elisa Baker's three children from a previous marriage.
"DSS was called three times," Parker said of the family. "They tried. They really tried."
DSS officials in Caldwell County, where the family recently lived, have not responded to requests for information.
Elisa Baker, 42, dressed in a pink jump suit and shackled at her wrists and legs, quietly answered "yes" as Judge Gregory Hayes asked if she understood the charge against her. She's being held on a $40,000 bond.
The case has drawn nationwide attention to this community at the foot of the N.C. mountains. Reports of possible mistreatment of Zahra have raised questions about what should have been done to protect the little girl.
Zahra, who is hearing impaired and has a prosthetic leg, was reported missing on Saturday. But police say they cannot confirm that anyone outside the household has seen her in the last month.
"She's a beautiful child," Milly Humphrey, a family friend said of Zahra at the vigil. "We don't know anything. We just hope she's found – and found safe."
Elisa Baker's attorney, Scott Reilly of Newton, said his client was "scared to death" and extremely upset about being held in jail.
He would not answer questions about whether Baker had discussed her stepdaughter.
The FBI has been called in to assist local police with the search and conduct any needed lab work.
Authorities worked late into Wednesday night to drain a pond near property owned by Real Tree Services, where Adam Baker, Zahra's father, is employed. The property includes large piles of wood chips and heavy equipment, and is surrounded by woods.
Lieutenant Becky Weatherman of the Burke County Sheriff's Office, said the lack of specifics on where to look was making the search more difficult.
"It's very hard," she said. "Especially if (someone) buried underground or you don't know where exactly to look."
In Hickory, police again visited the Baker's house on 21st Avenue NW. Officers and search dogs didn't turn up anything, although investigators removed a restaurant dumpster near the house to search it for evidence.
No one answered the Bakers' door Wednesday afternoon. Next-door neighbor Charles Bost said he hasn't seen Adam Baker in at least two days as news of his daughter's disappearance spread.
Adam Baker, 33, hasn't been charged in connection with the case and has remained largely out of the public eye except for a Monday appearance on Good Morning America where he acknowledged it was possible his wife might have been involved in Zahra's disappearance.
Douglas Proctor, who identified himself as Elisa Baker's son, contacted the Observer Wednesday to request privacy for his family and express gratitude to the dozens of people offering to help search for Zahra. He declined to discuss the case, but said finding Zahra is the family's top priority.
"Everyone has hope we'll find her," he said. "We're just trying to focus our attention on Zahra and trying to bring her home safe."
On Tuesday, Hickory police called off an AMBER Alert seeking help in finding Zahra alive and declared the case a homicide after cadaver search dogs detected possible human remains in the Bakers' vehicles parked outside their home, according to a search warrant.
Police were first called to the Bakers' home about 5 a.m. Saturday in response to a yard fire.
While they were there, police found a ransom note on the Bakers' SUV, demanding $1 million from "Mr. Coffey," who has been identified as Adam Baker's boss. The note suggested kidnappers had taken Mark Coffey's daughter, but when police checked they found the family was fine.
Zahra Baker was born in the southeast Australian town of Wagga Wagga, according to the Australian Daily Record. She lost her left leg below the knee to bone cancer when she was 5, and the disease also left her hearing impaired.
She moved to the United States last year with her father after he struck up an online romance with Elisa Baker.


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PostSubject: Family, friends in Australia love 'Bubbly Zahra'   Thu Oct 14, 2010 4:06 pm

Family, friends in Australia love 'Bubbly Zahra'








Credit: Photo supplied to the Townsville Bulletin
Zahra Baker during her Camp Quality trip with soldiers from B Squadron, 3rd/4th Cavalry regiment from Townsville's Lavarack Barracks.


Related Links

» Gallery: Disappearance of Zahra Baker



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MORE ON ADAM, ELISA BAKER About Adam Baker Adam Baker, Zahra’s biological father, is 33. He ...


MORE ON ADAM, ELISA BAKER

About Adam Baker
Adam Baker, Zahra’s biological father, is 33. He was born in Sydney, Australia, and became a landscape gardener.
According to Queensland news reports, he moved with Zahra to Giru to live with his parents in mid-2004.
Not much is known about Zahra’s biological mother among the Australian news media.
Adam Baker went to work in Invicta Sugar Mill in Giru where his father also worked.
Neighbors and the family say Zahra was raised by her grandmother.
Adam Baker met his second wife, Elisa, 42, a North Carolina native, about four years ago on the Internet.
Two years ago, he, Zahra and her new stepmother came to North Carolina with Elisa Baker. It is unclear where Adam and Elisa Baker were married, but they were wed July 6, 2007.
Baker works for Real Tree Services of Morganton.

About Elisa Baker
Elisa Proctor Baker, 42, calls herself E’lesa, Miss Gothicfairy, on her Web site.
She’s a North Carolina native, but she says on her site she’s from “never,neverland, Queensland, Australia.”
Actually, she’s Elisa Fairchild, a 1986 graduate of South Caldwell High School.
Apparently, she has long considered herself Gothic, and she complains about being treated differently.
The Associated Press reports she has two daughters and a son from a previous marriage, and mother and son have had very little contact.
Her son, 22-year-old Douglas Proctor, reportedly stayed with his father when his parents divorced, while the daughters went to live with their mother.
Here’s what she has to say on her MySpace site:
“I have four children and an amazing husband which yes i found on the internet,so yeah it does work sometimes. We have been together 2yrs and will be married 1 in July,and i must say he is the best thing that has happened to me.He has been by my side during some of the hardest points in my life,even when i wanted to give up.I owe him everything,even though things are tough at the moment he keeps me positive.Even when everyone else treats me like crap.”
And this, posted last year:
“One thing I have learnt this week is family really doesnt mean anything.And no matter the good you do ppl (people) only judge you for the bad.See everyone makes mistakes in this life and I have made my share yet some ppl think they are perfect,never lie or do anything wrong.And your kids rip your heart out.Its a never-endin circle.Now i understand what my mom use to tell me about family and friends.I miss her so much.
“... I am so sick of people judging me by how I look.I am gothic and very proud of it ... to me this is normal.
“i dont understand why all the people from other countries want to come here ... truth is we suck ... i dont ever wanna be or look like anyone else,I'm E'lesa by god and thats who I am til I die.”
There are few photos of Zahra on her site. The only one of Zahra by herself is captioned “the dark child!!!!lol.”
She has lots of praise for Adam Baker, the “one true love in my life.”
Details of her life before meeting Adam Baker are sketchy.
Her MySpace site reflects her Gothic attraction.

[url=http://www.myspace.com/gothicfairy6668]http://www.myspace.com/gothicfairy6668[/url]
View more




By Larry Clark
Published: October 14, 2010


winstonsalem_782:http://www2.hickoryrecord.com/news/2010/oct/14/family-friends-australia-love-bubbly-zahra-ar-455651/
HICKORY --

The disappearance of Zahra Clare Baker has devastated her family and friends in Australia.

The Townsville Bulletin, a newspaper published near Zahra’s former home in Giru, Queensland, reports Zahra’s grandmother, Karen Baker, and close family friend, Kim Wright, “spent many an hour with the bubbly Wagga-born girl in the four years she was growing up in Giru,” the Bulletin reported.

Queesnland is a large state in the northeastern part of Australia.

“She was the most determined little girl I have ever met,” Wright said.
“She was going to still do everything she could, despite not having her leg or her hearing. People say she has had a rough trot, but she never believed that for a second.”

“We are just stunned and shocked and so upset about what has happened,” Karen Baker, who lives in Newcastle, said.

“There is nothing we can do from here. We feel so helpless. We have friends who live over there who work in the trucking industry, and they have got all their mates to put out the alert that Zahra is missing through their CB systems, so hopefully there will be someone who has seen something. We want our darling girl back safe and sound,” Baker said.

The Bulletin and other news sources reveal a child who was shy, but always smiling in spite of her serious health problems.

Zahra was unable to attend school for a year because of the cancer.

Her friends in the community and the Giru State School raised enough money to buy her a laptop computer and educational software so she could keep up with her studies.

Wright met Zahra during a fundraising drive. Wright also worked with Zahra’s father, Adam, and her grandfather, Tony, at Invicta Sugar Mill.

Wright described Zahra as “determined and positive.”

Giru is near Townsville and has a population of 375.
She and her father lived with her grandparents. Family members say Zahra’s mother had little contact with her since she was eight months old.

Zahra also won the hearts of soldiers at Camp Quality in September of 2008 when she and 30 other North Queensland children and their companions were guests at the camp of Lavarack Barracks, Townsville.

Not long after that, news sources report, “She was uprooted from Australia ... and moved to North Carolina.”

Every report coming out of Australia refers to Zahra’s seemingly permanent smile.

A friend who lives in Brisbane posted this on the Townville Bulletin’s Web site:

Zahra you are in my prayers. I heard this news ... and it has left me sick with worry. May you be returned safe and well to your family, you are such a beautiful girl, you taught me so much during our many different Camp trips. The world through you a lot of lemons but you always caught them with a smile, keep on smiling Princess!”

A snapshot of Zahra

• Born 2000 in Wagga, Queensland, Australia
• 2001, father and mother divorce.
• In 2004, moved with her father to the North Queesnland township of Giru.
• 2005, diagnosed with a form of bone cancer that led to hearing loss and amputation of lower left leg.
• 2007, diagnosed with secondary lung cancer.
• 2008, cancer was declared in remission.
• 2008, moved to North Carolina with her father and new stepmother.
• 2010, approximately early September, moved with father and stepmother from Granite Falls area to Hickory.
• 2010, Oct. 9, reported missing from Hickory home.
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PostSubject: Searchers regturn to Burke County property for Zahra Baker clues   Thu Oct 14, 2010 4:13 pm

Searchers return to Burke County property for Zahra Baker clues


Candlelight vigil draws hundreds for missing girl



By Ely Portillo, Steve Lyttle and Franco Ordoñez
Staff Writers
Posted: Thursday, Oct. 14, 2010


Full Slideshow

« Prev of 5Next »






  • People sang, prayed and listened during a candlelight vigil for Zahra Baker near the playground at East Hickory Baptist Church Wednesday night in Hickory. The 10-year-old girl is missing and the subject of a homicide investigation. ROBERT LAHSER - rlahser@charlotteobserver.comBuy Photo | Store


  • Photo from Airstar 36. Crews searching for Zahra Baker unrolled hoses and started draining a pond this afternoon.



Zahra Baker attends a Starkey Hearing Foundation event at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 10. Zahra, along with nearly 100 other hearing impaired people from the Carolinas, was fitted that day with hearing aids. In addition to her hearing problems, Zahra lost a leg to bone cancer. COURTESY OF CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY



E. Baker




  • 10/12/2010 - Hickory police chief Tom Adkins speaks at a press conference on Tuesday, announcing that the search for Zahra Baker was being changed to a homicide investigation. JEFF WILLHELM - jwillhelm@charlotteobserver.comBuy Photo | Store


More Information






MORGANTON -- A full-scale search is under way Thursday afternoon at the Burke County property where investigators have visited three times earlier this week, seeking clues in the disappearance of 10-year-old Zahra Baker.
Authorities also are reported to be planning a search of the Caldwell County residence where Zahra and her parents -- father Adam and her stepmother Elisa -- lived before moving to Hickory about six or seven weeks ago.
Meanwhile, there were published and broadcast reports Thursday that police are convinced Zahra made the move to Hickory with her parents during the summer and was seen as recently as mid-September.
And the Hickory police on Thursday afternoon asked media outlets in the region for any video interviews of family members.
The Burke County Sheriff's Office sent about 50 searchers to the property north of Morganton that is owned by the company Adam Baker is employed by. Crews searched the same site twice Tuesday and then drained a 4-foot-deep pond near the property Wednesday night. They apparently did not find any clues in the disappearance of the girl.
Burke County authorities said today's search will be thorough -- piece by piece, in a grid format -- so they can either find answers or eliminate the site, once and for all. Search dogs also are poring over the property, off Hartland Road.
According to WSOC-TV, police plan to be in Caldwell County later today, to conduct another search of at least one residence where Adam and Elisa Baker lived with Zahra. The Bakers had multiple residences in Caldwell County before moving to Hickory, from where Zahra was reported missing Saturday by her father.
WSOC-TV said it was told by police investigators they have confirmed that Zahra was still alive when her family moved to Hickory. Earlier this week, Hickory police said they were having trouble finding people who had seen Zahra "recently." But police told WSOC that they are convinced the girl was alive about a month ago.
Several hundred people gathered Wednesday night at a Hickory church for a candlelight vigil for Zahra, at the same time as police expanded their search for the missing girl and drained a pond near the tree-trimming company where her father has worked.
The search at the Burke County pond ended before midnight, and investigators said they did not find anything to help in the case. The pond was near the same property where searchers looked Tuesday.
Searchers used hoses to drain the pond, which is about 4 feet deep, but found nothing.
"It's very disappointing," Burke County Sheriff's Office Lieutenant Becky Weatherman told reporters. "If she's deceased, we would like to provide closure for the family."
Early Wednesday, Zahra's stepmother Elisa Baker made her first appearance in court on obstruction of justice charges after investigators said she admitted she wrote a phony ransom note found at the family's home on Saturday.
Police say the note was designed to throw off investigators in their search for answers in the girl's disappearance, a case they're now calling a homicide.
At Wednesday evening's vigil, people sang and prayed for Zahra outside East Hickory Baptist Church, their children playing on swings and a jungle gym nearby.
"We just want to lift up little Zahra as we think about the tragedies in her life," deacon David King told the crowd.
At the vigil, Lindsey Parker told the crowd that family members had reported suspected abuse of Zahra to the Department of Social Services on three occasions. She said she was speaking on behalf of Brittany Starbuck, one of Elisa Baker's three children from a previous marriage.
"DSS was called three times," Parker said of the family. "They tried. They really tried."
DSS officials in Caldwell County, where the family recently lived, have not responded to requests for information.
During Wednesday's court appearance, Elisa Baker, 42, dressed in a pink jumpsuit and shackled at her wrists and legs, quietly answered "yes" as Judge Gregory Hayes asked if she understood the charge against her. She's being held on a $40,000 bond.
The case has drawn nationwide attention to this community at the foot of the N.C. mountains. Reports of possible mistreatment of Zahra have raised questions about what should have been done to protect the little girl.
Zahra, who is hearing impaired and has a prosthetic leg, was reported missing on Saturday. But police say they cannot confirm that anyone outside the household has seen her in the last month.
"She's a beautiful child," Milly Humphrey, a family friend said of Zahra at the vigil. "We don't know anything. We just hope she's found - and found safe."
Elisa Baker's attorney, Scott Reilly of Newton, said his client was "scared to death" and extremely upset about being held in jail.
He would not answer questions about whether Baker had discussed her stepdaughter.
The FBI has been called in to assist local police with the search and conduct any needed lab work.
Authorities worked late into Wednesday night to drain a pond near property owned by Real Tree Services, where Adam Baker, Zahra's father, is employed. The property includes large piles of wood chips and heavy equipment, and is surrounded by woods.
Weatherman, of the sheriff's office, said the lack of specifics on where to look was making the search more difficult.
"It's very hard," she said. "Especially if (someone is) buried underground or you don't know where exactly to look."
In Hickory, police again visited the Bakers' house on 21st Avenue N.W. Officers and search dogs didn't turn up anything, although investigators removed a restaurant Dumpster near the house to search it for evidence.
No one answered the Bakers' door Wednesday afternoon. Next-door neighbor Charles Bost said he hasn't seen Adam Baker in at least two days as news of his daughter's disappearance spread.
Adam Baker, 33, hasn't been charged in connection with the case and has remained largely out of the public eye except for a Monday appearance on "Good Morning America," where he acknowledged it was possible his wife might have been involved in Zahra's disappearance.
Douglas Proctor, who identified himself as Elisa Baker's son, contacted the Observer Wednesday to request privacy for his family and express gratitude to the dozens of people offering to help search for Zahra. He declined to discuss the case, but said finding Zahra is the family's top priority.
On Tuesday, Hickory police called off an Amber Alert seeking help in finding Zahra alive and declared the case a homicide after cadaver search dogs detected possible human remains in the Bakers' vehicles parked outside their home, according to a search warrant.
Police were first called to the Bakers' home about 5 a.m. Saturday in response to a yard fire.
While they were there, police found a ransom note on the Bakers' SUV, demanding $1 million from "Mr. Coffey," who has been identified as Adam Baker's boss. The note suggested kidnappers had taken Mark Coffey's daughter, but when police checked they found the family was fine.
Zahra Baker was born in the southeast Australian town of Wagga Wagga, according to the Australian Daily Record. She lost her left leg below the knee to bone cancer when she was 5, and the disease also left her hearing impaired.
She moved to the United States last year with her father after he struck up an online romance with Elisa Baker.

**CharlotteObserver
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PostSubject: Next-door neighbors wonder if Zahra kept in attic   Fri Oct 15, 2010 9:07 am

Next-door neighbors wonder if Zahra kept in attic


Apartment manager saw her once, never again while living next to the Bakers




Next Image > < Previous Image


Darrell Mims crouches in the attic where he and his wife, Shirley, believe the Bakers kept Zahra. The Mims live in the apartment next door to where the Bakers lived. They only saw Zahra the day the Bakers moved in. While the Bakers lived in the apartment, they heard noises above them that sounded like squirrels in the attic. After the Bakers moved out, the noises stopped.

Credit: ROBERT C. REED / RECORD







This is the attic space above where the Bakers lived from July 2009 to November 2009. Apartment complex manager Shirley Mims and her husband, Darrell, believe Zahra may have been kept in the attic while the Bakers lived in the apartment. The drywall that is on top of the blown in insulation should be dividing the two apartments' attics, according to the Mims. Instead, there's a gap to get between the two attic spaces.



By Sarah Newell williamson
Published: October 14, 2010
Updated: October 15, 2010 - 12:00 AM


GRANITE FALLS --

When the Baker family first moved into the apartments on Congress Street in July 2009, Shirley Mims had been the manager for only a short time.
It didn’t take her long to become better acquainted with Elisa and Adam Baker, who were in the apartment next door to Shirley and her husband, Darrell.
“They fought verbally and physically with each other. You could hear it through the walls,” Shirley said. “They’d even take it out into the parking lot.”
It was so bad one time that it knocked the pictures off the wall the Mims shared with the Bakers, Shirley said.
She said the couple began fighting about three weeks after they moved into the apartment.
As for the now-missing Zahra Clare Baker, Shirley didn’t even know the couple had a daughter.
“We saw the little girl when they moved in, but we didn’t see her no more after that,” she said. “When I saw the little girl, I assumed it was a grandchild or a visitor, because I never saw her again.”
Zahra, 10, was first reported missing at 2 p.m. Saturday, although Hickory police suspect she may have been missing longer than that. No one other than family has seen Zahra in a month.
On Sunday, Zahra’s stepmother, Elisa, 42, was arrested on unrelated charges to Zahra’s disappearance. Hickory police interviewed Elisa on Tuesday, and she admitted writing the ransom note found on one of the Bakers’ car, demanding $1 million. She has since been arrested for obstruction of justice and had her first court appearance on the charge. Officers are still searching for Zahra.
The Bakers lived in the apartment on Congress Street until early November 2009, when Shirley asked them to move out because of their fighting.
“In one-and-a-half days, they were gone,” Shirley said. “I got the impression they didn’t want the police here.”
When Shirley and Darrell went into the Bakers’ apartment after they left, they were surprised by what they found. One of the doors to a closet had been removed. That closet provides access to the attic — an attic where you can’t store anything, it just contains blown insulation for the two-story apartments.
When the Mims were watching the news this week, they recognized their former tenants. They were also surprised to learn they had a daughter.
They’re now wondering if maybe Zahra was in the attic
“We don’t know for sure, but we think they kept her in the attic,” Darrell said. “There were black shoe sole prints all around the inside (of the door frame). The door to the cubby hole was taken off.”
The Mims still haven’t found the door to the closet, and aren’t sure what the Bakers did with it.
Darrell said for several months — during the time the Bakers lived next door — it sounded as if squirrels were in the attic.
“All the noises I heard in the attic must have been her, but I never heard them again after they left,” Shirley said. “I can’t prove that’s what it was, but in my heart, that’s what I believe.”
When Darrell went up to the attic to look, he saw a section of the firewall that divides the two apartments was pulled down and was on top some of the boards and insulation. It was cracked in a few places.
“It looked as though a child had gone to sleep on it,” Darrell said.
To get into the attic, you would have to go into the closet, pop out the part of the ceiling covering the hole to the attic, lift yourself up to the 8-foot ceiling and crawl inside. Once inside the ceiling, which is covered with insulation, the area above each apartment is about 20 feet-by-20 feet, and about 4-and-a-half feet tall at its highest point.
Shirley said Elisa and Adam Baker were not the only two in the family who concealed information about a child in the house. Shirley used to work with a relative of Elisa’s.
“Not one time did she mention there was a girl here,” Shirley said. “She would talk about Elisa, but not mention a girl.”
She said if she had any idea a child was in that apartment, she would have called for help.
“If I had known for one minute the little girl was there, I wouldn’t have stopped until Social Services was there,” Shirley said.
Now, the Mims are left to wonder what happened to Zahra.
“I just pray for her,” Shirley said. “She’s such a beautiful little girl.”
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PostSubject: Zahra was not home schooled, according to records   Fri Oct 15, 2010 9:14 am

Zahra was not home schooled, according to records


A parent withdrew her from Caldwell schools







Zahra was reported missing Oct. 9.


Related Links

» Gallery: Disappearance of Zahra Baker
» Link: Interactive map plots key sites in Baker case



Related Content



THE ROLE OF DSS The Department of Non-Public Education does not have legal authority over abus ...


THE ROLE OF DSS
The Department of Non-Public Education does not have legal authority over abuse, threats or “outrageous demands” inflicted on students in home schools.
Neighbors and family members say they reported abuse by Elisa Baker on Zahra, her stepdaughter, but nothing was done.
According to the DNPE, “If a child is being physically or sexually abused; or, the child’s life is at risk because of unreasonable or irrational acts, threats or bad decisions by anyone, it must be reported ... to local law enforcement officials or to the local social service office (the Department of Social Services).
The DSS is forbidden by law to share any information involving an investigation or intervention in the case of a minor. There are exceptions: Law officers, court officials and those directly connected to a case. But divulging information is highly restricted, even to family members.
It is North Carolina law, however, that all people — teachers, family members, neighbors and strangers — report suspected abuse to law enforcement or DSS.
The law demands that all complaints and reports of abuse be addressed.
Public school social workers are also empowered to act on behalf of public school students who are victims of suspected abuse.
“Social workers also possess the legal authority to investigate cases of suspected child abuse and neglect; that all citizens are required to report suspected child abuse and neglect situations to their local social service office; and, that the North Carolina General Statutes forbid anyone from interfering with a child abuse or neglect investigation,” according to the DNPE Web site.
State statutes specifically address abuse.
“Any person or institution who has cause to suspect that any juvenile is abused, neglected, or dependent, as defined by G.S. 7B-101, or has died as the result of maltreatment, shall report the case of that juvenile to the director of the department of social services in the county where the juvenile resides or is found. The report may be made orally, by telephone, or in writing.
“The report shall include information as is known to the person making it including the name and address of the juvenile; the name and address of the juvenile’s parent, guardian, or caretaker; the age of the juvenile; the names and ages of other juveniles in the home; the present whereabouts of the juvenile if not at the home address; the nature and extent of any injury or condition resulting from abuse, neglect, or dependency; and any other information which the person making the report believes might be helpful in establishing the need for protective services or court intervention.

“If the report is made orally or by telephone, the person making the report shall give the person’s name, address, and telephone number.”
Note the following passage:
“Refusal of the person making the report to give a name shall not preclude the department’s assessment of the alleged abuse, neglect, dependency, or death as a result of maltreatment.”
That means the person making the report may remain anonymous, but the rest of the information must be supplied.
If there is no paper trail, claims of reporting abuse can be difficult to document.
There does not seem to be a paper trail of complaints on behalf of Zahra.
At a vigil for the missing girl Wednesday night at East Hickory Baptist Church, Lindsey Parker, a friend of Zahra’s sister, said, “The family tried. They did honestly try to get help. DSS was called three times.”
Parker was referring to allegations that Elisa Baker routinely abused Zahra.

For more about home schooling and links to statutes on compulsory attendance and reporting abuse, go to the Department of Non-Public Education’s Web site: [url=http://www.ncdnpe.org]www.ncdnpe.org[/url].
View more




By Larry Clark
Published: October 15, 2010


HICKORY --


There is a hole in the statutory school attendance safety net for North Carolina's school children, and Zahra Clare Baker seems to have dropped through that hole.
There is no record that Zahra was home schooled, as her parents claimed, or that either parent applied for home school certification.
The Hickory Daily Record looked at home school registrations in Catawba, Caldwell and Burke counties and did not find any reference where Adam or Elisa Baker received certification for home schooling.
The N.C. Department of Non-Public Education, a part of the state Department of Administration, requires all home schools to be registered.
Zahra, who has been missing since Saturday, attended Granite Falls and Hudson public schools last school year.
The Baker family lived in Caldwell County when she attended public schools there in 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 school years.
She was never enrolled in Hickory Public Schools.
The Bakers moved to Hickory approximately six weeks before Zahra was reported missing, after the start of this school year.
North Carolina law says public school officials must be notified if a child is to be home schooled and will no longer attend public school.

Caldwell County schools
legally out of the picture

Libby Brown, public information officer for Caldwell County Schools, said school personnel try to find a child who does not show for school within the first 10 days of a school year.
"We did contact the family," Brown said about Zahra's parents, Adam and Elisa.
Brown could not divulge a lot of information, but said, "a parent withdrew the child and said the family had moved to a different district."
Brown said the parent indicated Zahra would be home schooled.
That's when the Caldwell County school system's jurisdiction ended.
However, Brown said the system did review elements of home schooling with the parent.
"I am proud that we went above and beyond what is required and took so many additional steps," she said.
School personnel attempted followup calls to the telephone number on file, but there was no response.
"We used every resource for the welfare of Zahra," Brown said.
A parent is not required to tell the former school system where the child will be enrolled, even if it's another public school system.
In North Carolina, a child's new school district will seek records from the previous district, Brown said.
The declaration that Zahra would be home schooled and was officially withdrawn from Caldwell County schools satisfied that district's responsibility and ended the district's authority.
But, according to statute, without certification of home schooling, the public school connection is not severed.

Two education departments

The Department of Non-Public Education is the licensing agency and is responsible for oversight of home schools, including inspection.
But it does not keep records of who attends home schools. The home school administrator, who is the parent or teacher on the registration, maintains those records. And it does not have legal authority over abuse, threats or "outrageous demands" inflicted on students in home schools.
The DNPE is not part of the Department of Public Instruction, the agency that oversees public schools.
All children, with few exceptions, must attend school. Home schools are the same as public schools. Students must get nine months - 180 days, minimum - of instruction. The accepted school year runs roughly from September through May.
According to the DNPE website, discovery that a child is appropriately in home schooling often satisfies the law, but parents can still be prosecuted for a misdemeanor.
It also says, "All compulsory attendance enforcement authority is vested in local authorities."
The role of local compulsory attendance enforcement authorities is to investigate student absences from the local public schools and reports of children of compulsory attendance age not being enrolled in a legally valid North Carolina school."
The primary responsibility of determining who pursues compliance with compulsory attendance rests with the school superintendent.
There is nothing in the compulsory attendance statute that directly addresses the role of the Department of Public Instruction when a student drops out of sight after withdrawal requirements are met with a local school district and no other district reports the child's enrollment.
A child does not have to be home schooled by a parent, but there are restrictions on how many families can be represented in a single home school.
Since only administrators (parents or home school teachers) of home schools and not students are listed with the DNPE, there is no way to search home school enrollment records for Zahra. Her identity is protected the same way a public school student cannot be located by just anyone in a database.
Catawba County has 700 home schools, according to DNPE estimates. Caldwell has 428, Burke 480 and Alexander 274.
The agency estimates there are 1,234 children being home schooled in Catawba County, 676 in Caldwell, 943 in Burke and 564 in Alexander.

The role of DSS

According to the DNPE, "If a child is being physically or sexually abused; or, the child's life is at risk because of unreasonable or irrational acts, threats or bad decisions by anyone, it must be reported ... to local law enforcement officials or to the local social service office (the Department of Social Services).
The DSS is forbidden by law to share any information involving an investigation or intervention in the case of a minor. There are exceptions: Law officers, court officials and those directly connected to a case. But divulging information is highly restricted, even to family members.
It is North Carolina law, however, that all people - teachers, family members, neighbors and strangers - report suspected abuse to law enforcement or DSS.
The law demands that all complaints and reports of abuse be addressed.
Public school social workers are also empowered to act on behalf of public school students who are victims of suspected abuse.
Public school social workers can be counselors, an assigned social worker position or anyone designated by the school or school system to serve in that function.
"Social workers also possess the legal authority to investigate cases of suspected child abuse and neglect; that all citizens are required to report suspected child abuse and neglect situations to their local social service office; and, that the North Carolina General Statutes forbid anyone from interfering with a child abuse or neglect investigation," according to the DNPE Web site.

Specific information needed in abuse complaint

State statutes specifically address abuse.
"Any person or institution who has cause to suspect that any juvenile is abused, neglected, or dependent, as defined by G.S. 7B-101, or has died as the result of maltreatment, shall report the case of that juvenile to the director of the department of social services in the county where the juvenile resides or is found. The report may be made orally, by telephone, or in writing.
"The report shall include information as is known to the person making it including the name and address of the juvenile; the name and address of the juvenile's parent, guardian, or caretaker; the age of the juvenile; the names and ages of other juveniles in the home; the present whereabouts of the juvenile if not at the home address; the nature and extent of any injury or condition resulting from abuse, neglect, or dependency; and any other information which the person making the report believes might be helpful in establishing the need for protective services or court intervention.
"If the report is made orally or by telephone, the person making the report shall give the person's name, address, and telephone number."

Note the following passage:
"Refusal of the person making the report to give a name shall not preclude the department's assessment of the alleged abuse, neglect, dependency, or death as a result of maltreatment."
That means the person making the report may remain anonymous, but the rest of the information must be supplied.
If there is no paper trail, claims of reporting abuse can be difficult to document.
There does not seem to be a paper trail of complaints on behalf of Zahra.
At a vigil for the missing girl Wednesday night at East Hickory Baptist Church, Lindsey Parker, a friend of Zahra's sister, said, "The family tried. They did honestly try to get help. DSS was called three times."
Parker was referring to allegations that Elisa Baker routinely abused Zahra.
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PostSubject: Cops pour through leads as search continues   Fri Oct 15, 2010 9:17 am

Cops pour through leads as search continues








Credit: By James Nix/Concord/Kannapolis Independent-Tribune
Hickory Police are looking for Zahra Baker, who was last seen in her bed Saturday. Authorities have issued a statewide Amber Alert. Baker, who is hearing-impaired, is seen here during a hearing aid giveaway at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May.


Related Links

» Gallery: Disappearance of Zahra Baker




By Richard Gould
Published: October 15, 2010


HICKORY --


Hickory police officers are continuing to investigate each of the more than 100 leads that have come in on the department’s tip line since the department began looking for 10-year-old Zahra Baker Saturday afternoon, said a department official.

Originally a missing person’s case, Hickory police announced Tuesday that the case is being pursued as a homicide investigation.

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

“We are continuing to search properties with cadaver dogs – properties that have been developed through leads that are coming in through the public,” said Hickory police.

Zahra’s father, Adam Baker, 33, 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.”

Zahra’s mother, Elisa Baker, 42, is in the Catawba County jail on a $72,000 bond. She’s been in jail since Saturday afternoon when she was arrested on more than a dozen unrelated crimes stemming from nine outstanding arrest warrants. Tuesday morning she was charged with obstruction of justice after admitting she wrote a fake ransom note demanding $1 million.
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PostSubject: Zahra enrolled in Caldwell schools for 3rd, 4th, grades   Fri Oct 15, 2010 9:21 am

Zahra enrolled in Caldwell schools for 3rd, 4th grades


CCS offers counselors, clergy for students to talk to as news of Zahra unfolds.







Zahra Clare Baker, 10, was reported missing Oct. 9. She attended school in Caldwell County Schools for nearly two years, and the students in that school system are coping with news of her disappearance.


Related Links

» Gallery: Disappearance of Zahra Baker




By Sarah Newell williamson
Published: October 14, 2010


GRANITE FALLS --


When Hickory police announced that 10-year-old Zahra Clare Baker was missing, school officials in Caldwell County acted quickly to ensure their students would have the support they needed.

Zahra was a student in Caldwell County Schools for nearly two years. She was enrolled in Hudson Elementary midway through the 2008-09 school year, when she was in third grade, said Libby Brown, the community relations director.

At the start of the 2009-10 school year, Zahra attended Granite Falls Elementary, but transferred back to Hudson Elementary when her family moved, Brown said. Zahra finished her fourth-grade year at Hudson Elementary.

Zahra was first reported missing by Adam and Elisa Baker, her father and stepmother, on Saturday. Her prosthetic leg was missing, but the two hearing aids she uses were found at home. Zahra was hearing impaired and had to have part of her leg amputated because of bone cancer.

The investigation changed from an AMBER alert to a homicide investigation Tuesday. Elisa was arrested on obstruction of justice charges for writing a ransom note demanding $1 million.

When Caldwell County Schools learned that Zahra disappeared, and authorities suspected she had been killed, they brought in counselors for the students.

“We had clergymen trained in bereavement and grief counseling come to the schools and work with the administrators and school counselors,” Brown said. “They worked mainly with the fourth and fifth grades, since Zahra would have been in fifth grade this year.”

Eight clergymen went to Hudson Elementary and four went to Granite Falls Elementary to work with the two counselors each that are already employed at the two schools. Four additional counselors went to Hudson Elementary and a few others went to Granite Falls Elementary, as well, Brown said. Two social workers also went to each school.

Hudson was more of a focus because that’s where she was last,” Brown said. “We sent an ‘AlertNow’ message to the Hudson and Granite Falls families, saying there would be support for any emotions the students had, to help process what they’re hearing and to talk them through that.”

The AlertNow message allows agencies, like school systems, send an email or voice mail to everyone on a phone or email list.

She said with the Hudson Elementary AlertNow message, an extra sentence was added, asking that if anyone had seen Zahra in the last month to contact an emergency number that was provided.

“This went very well (Wednesday),” Brown said.

She thought several students had taken advantage of the help offered, and said the number of kids asking for help would probably decline. However, if Zahra was found, Brown said the number needing someone to talk to would likely spike again.
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PostSubject: Zahra Baker's Grandmother: 'We want our darling girl back'   Fri Oct 15, 2010 9:31 am

Zahra Baker's grandmother: 'We want our darling girl back'


By Steve Lyttle
slyttle@charlotteobserver.com
Posted: Thursday, Oct. 14, 2010


Zahra












The grandmother of Zahra Baker, the 10-year-old girl who is missing and a presumed homicide victim, has told an Australian newspaper that her family is "stunned and shocked" by what has happened to the little girl.
And a friend told the newspaper that Zahra is "the most determined little girl I have ever met."
Zahra was reported missing last Saturday by her father, Adam Baker, and her stepmother, Elisa Baker, who now live in Hickory. But Hickory police say it has been a month since anyone outside the household has seen the girl, and police Chief Tom Adkins has described the case as a homicide investigation.
Zahra Baker was born in the small Australian town of Wagga Wagga, about 200 miles west of Sydney.
Her paternal grandparents, Karen and Tony Baker, lived a short distance north of Sydney, in the coastal town of Newcastle. But they moved in May 2004 to Giru, several hundred miles farther north, along the northeast coast of Australia.
Adam, one of their four sons, moved to Giru about the same time with Zahra. The girl's biological mother was not part of her upbringing, family members have said.
Karen Baker told the Bulletin, a newspaper based in Townsville, a large city near Giru, that she was responsible for much of Zahra's upbringing, caring for the child while her father worked in a nearby sugar mill.
Shortly after starting at Giru State School, Zahra was diagnosed with cancer. She lost her leg and much of her hearing to the illness and was out of school for a year, according to the Townsville Bulletin.
Residents of Giru raised enough money to buy a laptop computer and software, so Zahra could keep up with her schoolwork.
One of those residents, Kim Wright, told the newspaper that she became a good friend of the family after meeting Zahra at a fund raising event. She described the young girl as determined to overcome her physical problems.
"She was going to still do everything she could, despite not having her leg or her hearing," she told the Bulletin.
"People say she has had a rough trot, but she never believed that for a second."
Karen Baker told the newspaper she has spoken several times with her son Adam and says he is devastated by what has happened to Zahra.
"I can only imagine what poor Adam is going through," she said. "He really loved her, and there is no way he would ever hurt her."
Baker added, "Adam is obviously very upset, but he is holding up."
The story was published Tuesday, and it is unclear if Baker and Wright knew the case had changed from a "missing person" to a "homicide" investigation when they were interviewed by the newspaper.
Baker said she and her husband "want our darling girl back safe and sound."
Wright told the newspaper, "I just want to get on a plane right now and get over there and help look for her.
"She can't be gone."

**Charlotte Observer
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PostSubject: Zahra Baker case: Do Elisa's actions show premeditation?   Fri Oct 15, 2010 10:15 am

Zahra Baker case: Do Elisa’s actions show premeditation?



Posted on October 15th, 2010 by Valhall
The timeline for when 10-year-old Zahra Baker may have gone missing (was murdered?) is tightening. Police issued reports yesterday that stated they believe Zahra did move with the family to the house in Hickory, North Carolina approximately 6 weeks before her disappearance, and was seen as late as mid-September. An investigation by the Hickory Daily Record has revealed the move was after the school year started and Zahra’s previous school actually contacted Elisa Baker after Zahra did not return for the new school year. It was during these phone calls that Elisa Baker informed the previous school they had moved to a new school district, but that Zahra was going to be home schooled. The Caldwell County school system actually provided information to Elisa during these phone calls about the guidelines and requirements for home schooling and attempted follow-up phone calls to check on the progress for Zahra’s homeschooling, but Elisa Baker nor Adam Baker answered or returned any of their follow-up calls.
Elisa Baker nor Adam Baker took any necessary actions to officially register Zahra as being home schooled. Which is the first indication of some longer term plan to not provide for this child in life. Now, this doesn’t necessarily point to planning to kill her, but it indicates neither of these parents really cared one way or the other if her basic needs and fundamental rights to an education were being fulfilled. Which by itself is disturbing. You add that to the numerous accounts of witnessed, and reported abuse of Zahra and the portrait of the little girl’s life becomes ugly enough to move to the attic.
But there is another action taken by Elisa that may be very telling. Hinky reader george made an interesting observation yesterday about an alleged phone call Elisa made last Friday – just the day before Zahra was reported missing. Brittany Bentley, former wife of Elisa’s nephew, is one of the people who filed charges against Elisa Baker for communicating threats. Brittany Bentley claims that Elisa threatened to kill her, her baby and her husband, Zachary. In an interview given by Brittany earlier in the week she stated that on Friday Elisa Baker phoned her and asked her to drop the charges. Brittany refused. George’s question was this: Did this indicate that as early as Friday, Elisa was planning the phone call or other actions to report Zahra missing? Could this phone call at least indicate premeditation of the reporting of Zahra’s disappearance, not necessarily the murder? Could this phone call go toward tightening the timeline as to when Zahra actually “disappeared” (i.e. was murdered)?
By Sunday morning Elisa Baker was arrested on what has been reported to be “up to 2 dozen” unrelated charges ranging from bad checks, to larceny by an employee, to the charges of communicating threats. So the question might be asked – why would Elisa bother calling Brittany to try to get charges dropped when she had so many other things she could be arrested for? Well, the answer is…it does not appear that Elisa Baker had knowledge of ANY of the charges she was arrested for on Sunday EXCEPT the charges of communicating threats. In fact, every single charge of bad checks, larceny, failure to return rental property, etc. were served on Elisa Baker on Sunday October 10th when she was arrested. And the reason being, Elisa used aliases, and apparently used erroneous birthdates (i.e. apparently using her own daughter’s personal information on several things), as well as multiple addresses either real or fake, to stay below the radar on businesses she wrote bad checks to, or absconded with their rental property. 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!
So, yes, george, your question is very valid. Not knowing there were a truckload of pending charges out there, on Friday the 8th of October, Elisa Baker may have been trying to eliminate any arrest due to the charges of communicating threats in preparation for reporting Zahra missing. Now, someone asked, why would getting these charges dropped the day before she reported Zahra missing help? Well, who says that Zahra would have been reported missing this early if Elisa Baker had been successful in talking Brittany Bentley into dropping the charges? We have no way of knowing how much longer Elisa would have waited to report Zahra missing had she been able to clear what she knew was against her last Friday. But, aside from that, who said Elisa Baker is an intelligent person?
So going with george’s thoughts on this…does this mean that some time between Thursday evening (when Adam Baker claims to have last saw his daughter) and Saturday Zahra Baker was killed? Was Elisa making the phone call because the murder had already taken place and she was panicked to get things in order because her husband was coming home that night and she didn’t know how long she would be able to conceal from him that Zahra was gone? Luckily she was working with an inattentive, noncaring father…so no telling how long she could have gone before having to confess Zahra wasn’t there. We have to admit if things really went down the way Adam Baker claims, he hadn’t even discovered on his own that his daughter was missing as late as 2 pm Saturday when he claims Elisa came screaming out of the house she was gone.
Personally, I don’t believe Adam Baker. I think he knew and may be complicit if not totally responsible for disposing of Zahra’s body. In which case, the phone call to Brittany Bentley by Elisa on Friday may have been with the intention of getting her record cleared and then BOTH of the Bakers not revealing her missing for God only knows how long. Along the lines of this thinking, when Elisa was unable to clear her name, they just went on with the report of Zahra being gone and took their chances that Elisa would beat the claims of uttering threats. Fortunately….there were many more charges waiting for Elisa out there. Charges, it appears, she didn’t even know about.
Valhall.
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PostSubject: Police take furniture, evidence from Hickory house where Zahra lived   Fri Oct 15, 2010 3:55 pm

Police take furniture, evidence from Hickory house where Zahra lived


Adam Baker says: "I don’t know. Everybody knows more than me."








Credit: ROBERT C. REED / RECORD
Local law enforcement remove a mattress from the home of Zahra Clare Baker, on 21st Avenue NW. Hickory police searched the house for more evidence in the disappearance case of Zahra Friday afternoon.


Related Links

» Gallery: Disappearance of Zahra Baker
» Link: Interactive map plots key sites in Baker case




By Richard Gould
Published: October 15, 2010



HICKORY --

Three pieces of bedroom furniture were brought out of the house where Zahra Baker and her parents lived. All the items were wrapped in plastic by police authorities Friday morning.

A bed frame, mattress and box springs were brought out after another extensive search of the yard and the house at 21 21st Ave., NW. They also brought two bags containing evidence. About 10 to 12 law enforcement officers and dog handlers searched the house for more than two hours.

After the material was recovered and brought out of the house, police went out the front door and Adam Baker, Zahra’s father, went out the back door. He got into a white Chevy Impala, in which he arrived at the house with an unidentified person.

As he was walking out of the house to leave, he was surrounded by media questioning him. When asked what was going on, he said, “I don’t know. Everybody knows more than me.”
He then got into the car and drove away.
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PostSubject: Father of missine NC girl says he's cooperating   Fri Oct 15, 2010 4:28 pm

Associated Press


Father of missing NC girl says he's cooperating

By MITCH WEISS , 10.15.10, 02:44 PM EDT


HICKORY, N.C. -- The father of a missing 10-year-old said Friday he is cooperating with police searching for his daughter and unsure whether his wife is involved in the case.
"I want to find her and take her home," Adam Baker told The Associated Press by phone, adding that he will return Zahra Clare Baker to the family's native Australia if she wants to go.


Baker and his wife, the girl's stepmother, reported Zahra missing on Oct. 9. They said they had last seen the girl - who used hearing aids and a prosthetic leg because of bone cancer - in her bed at their home in Hickory, about 50 miles northwest of Charlotte.
But police say they don't believe the couple and suspect the girl has been killed. Investigators said Thursday that 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.
Baker said Friday he not spoken with his wife, 42-year-old Elisa Baker, and remains unsure if she had anything to do with his daughter's disappearance.
"Maybe," Baker told AP. "I'm still trying to figure it all out."




Elisa Baker has been jailed, charged with obstruction of justice after police say she tried to throw them off with a fake ransom note. She also faces charged unrelated to the case. Her court-appointed attorney, Scott Reilly, says she is "scared to death" and very emotional about everything.


Also Friday, Burke County investigators said they were satisfied the girl's body is not on a wooded lot where tree service equipment including a wood chipper was being kept.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press
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PostSubject: Friends: Missing girl had happy life in Australia   Fri Oct 15, 2010 5:42 pm

Friends: Missing girl had happy life in Australia


By MITCH WEISS
Associated Press Writer
Posted: Thursday, Oct. 14, 2010




Slideshow
« Prev of 5Next »






  • Hickory Police Chief Tom Adkins gathers his composure as he addresses the media during a news conference concerning the investigation for missing girl Zahra Clare Baker in Hickory, N.C., Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2010. Police say they are shifting to a homicide investigation in the case of a missing 10-year-old North Carolina girl whose bone cancer left her with a prosthetic leg and hearing aids.


  • Hickory Police Chief Tom Adkins gathers his composure as he addresses the media during a news conference concerning the investigation for missing girl Zahra Clare Baker in Hickory, N.C., Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2010. Police say they are shifting to a homicide investigation in the case of the missing 10-year-old North Carolina girl whose bone cancer left her with a prosthetic leg and hearing aids.



This undated photo provided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation shows Zahra Clare Baker, a 10 year-old North Carolina hearing-impaired girl with a prosthetic leg who is missing. The girl was last seen by her stepmother at 2:30 a.m. Saturday Oct. 9, 2010. A fire was reported in the Bakers' backyard about 5 a.m.


FILE - This May 2010 file photo, shows Zahra Clare Baker, 10, getting a hearing aid at an event at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C. Police indicated Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2010 that they believe someone killed the 10-year-old North Carolina girl whose bone cancer left her with a prosthetic leg and hearing aids, saying they were shifting from a missing person search to a homicide investigation.





  • This undated photo provided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation shows Zahra Clare Baker, a 10 year-old North Carolina hearing-impaired girl with a prosthetic leg who is missing. The girl was last seen by her stepmother at 2:30 a.m. Saturday Oct. 9, 2010. A fire was reported in the Bakers' backyard about 5 a.m.




CHARLOTTE, N.C. Though Zahra Clare Baker was battling cancer that forced her to wear hearing aids and a prosthetic leg, friends who knew her in Australia say she was an outgoing, caring, happy girl.
Then her lonely single father moved her halfway around the world to North Carolina so he could live with a woman he met on the Internet. Now the 10-year-old with the freckles and wide smile is missing and presumed dead, and friends and family thousands of miles away are waiting anxiously for word about her fate.
"She was one of the bravest little girls you'll ever have the pleasure of meeting," Kim Wright, 44, a close friend of the family, told The Associated Press in a phone interview from Giru, Australia, where Zahra lived until two years ago. "She was always thinking of others."
Zahra's father and stepmother reported her missing over the weekend, saying they had last seen her in her bed at their home in Hickory, about 50 miles northwest of Charlotte, early on the morning of Oct. 9.
Police say they don't believe them. They've had trouble finding anyone outside Zahra's house who has seen her alive in recent months. That's made it difficult to narrow down places to search.
"We've been going back and talking to everyone we can," Hickory Deputy Chief Clyde Deal said Thursday.
Zahra's stepmother, 42-year-old Elisa Baker, is jailed, accused of trying to throw off investigators with a fake ransom note. Her court-appointed attorney, Scott Reilly, says she is "scared to death" and very emotional about everything.
Zahra's father, Adam Baker, 33, hasn't been charged, but investigators haven't ruled him out as a suspect. Several telephone messages left for Adam Baker were not returned Thursday.
Wright said friends and family in Australia still hope Zahra is alive. She became friends with the little girl four years ago at a cancer fundraising event. She was sitting in a chair waiting for her head to be shaved to raise money when Zahra approached, took her hand and told her not to be scared.
Wright became something of a surrogate mother to the girl, whose biological mother left when she was a baby. Adam Baker raised her after that with help from his parents, Wright said, taking time off from the sugar mill where he worked so he could be with Zahra when she was diagnosed with bone cancer about five years ago.
Wright described a phone call from Zahra when she was in a children's hospital waiting to have her leg amputated.
"She told me they were having trouble with her leg because she was really sick. But then she said: 'It's OK because I'm going to be getting a Barbie leg so I don't want you to get upset,'" Wright said. "That little kid was more concerned about what I was feeling than what she was going through."
A few months later, doctors discovered tumors in her lungs. She had chemotherapy, but the treatment led to a partial hearing loss. Still, she remained upbeat, attending a camp for children with cancer and inspiring her fellow campers by taking part in all of the physical activities.
"She was missing a limb but she could still do anything that the other kids could do," said camp manager Mark McGregor. "She was an unbelievable kid and we're hoping like hell that you find her alive and we can get her back here."
Police say that's not likely. Documents and interviews with friends and neighbors in North Carolina paint a starkly different picture of Zahra's life there.
They say Elisa Baker had a short temper and would hit Zahra, that Social Services was called to investigate, but nothing was ever done.
"I watched her beat her and tried to stop her," said former neighbor Karen Yount, who filed a complaint against Elisa Baker for threatening to harm her daughter and her friends.
Former neighbor Kayla Rotenberry said she saw Elisa Baker hit Zahra and noticed bruises on the girl's face and body. She also said that Elisa Baker told her that Social Services was investigating.
"She was angry that people were getting into her business," she said. "We all tried to stop her. That little girl was so sweet. Always smiling through it all. She just wanted to be loved."
Wright says friends in Australia were suspicious of Elisa Baker when Adam Baker met her online in early 2008 and invited her to visit.
Elisa Baker told them she was she was a police officer who was shot in the line of duty. She also said she was a bounty hunter and had met celebritites.
"She told a lot of stories that never quite rang true," Wright said.
They were married that July in a small ceremony in Adam Baker's parents' backyard. In November, they moved to North Carolina. The family was less than thrilled, especially since Zahra's medical treatments were free in Australia.
"Adam was on his own for eight years with Zahra before he met (her) and I think he was lonely and I think that was his biggest downfall, really," Wright said.
The last time Wright saw Zahra, the little girl said she didn't want to leave her grandparents and friends. Wright hugged her and told her she would get to go to Disneyland.
"But she was nervous," Wright said. "She said she wanted to go for a day, but wasn't sure she wanted to live there. But when you're a 7-year-old kid, you don't get a choice. Your parents tell you what to do and that's the end of that discussion."
Associated Press Writer Tom Breen in Raleigh contributed to this report.
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PostSubject: Waiting for news hard on grandmother, family in Australia   Sat Oct 16, 2010 5:49 pm

Waiting for news hard on grandmother, family in Australia





By Larry Clark
Published: October 16, 2010


HICKORY --

The investigation into the disappearance of Zahra Clare Baker is taking its toll on her family in Australia.

Zahra’s grandmother, Karen Baker, who lives in Newcastle, New South Wales, said the media circus outside her home was pushing the family to the breaking point, according to the Townsville Bulletin, published near Giru, Queensland, the town where Zahra spent much of her life.

The dreaded details of the search for Zahra have spread across Australia where the 10-year-old is seen as a celebrity because of her gallant fight against cancer.

Zahra was raised by her grandmother.

Karen Baker told the media that the family has little or no sleep as they await news of Zahra.

The Bulletin reported that the news media responded to Baker’s plea to respect the family’s privacy and devastation by vacating the area around the Baker home.

The news in Australia paints a slightly different picture of Adam Baker, Zahra’s father, than has been common in North Carolina.

Most reports say he has been uncooperative with investigators, but the Bulletin quotes Karen Baker disputing those statements.

Adam has been totally cooperative with the police investigation,” she said.
“He is just in emotional shutdown — he just wants to find his daughter.“

She said Hickory Police Maj. Clyde Deal spoke to the family Thursday.

“We have been in contact with him and each time he has been co-operative,” Deal was quoted as telling Zahra’s Australian relatives.

Investigators on the case have talked to the Baker family in Australia looking for any information that might help them unravel the mystery surrounding Zahra’s disappearance.

So far, no new leads have been generated, according to the Bulletin and other Australian media sources.

Zahra was born in the New South Wales rural town of Wagga Wagga and lived in Newcastle in the Hunter Valley and Giru, south of Townsville, before moving to North Carolina with her father about two years ago.

Adam Baker met Elisa Baker, Zahra’s stepmother, on the Internet. Elisa Baker is a graduate of South Caldwell High School.

She refers to herself as E’lesa, Miss Gothicfairy, on her MySpace site.

The media Down Under is closely following reports of Elisa Baker, the “stepmum,” and the accusations against her, giving a detailed account of her court appearance where she was formally charged with obstructing justice.

Zahra’s biological mother still lives in Australia. There has been no news of her in the Australian media.

About the search for Zahra, Karen Baker told the Bulletin, “Just thinking about that has been giving me nightmares ... For all we know, she could just be hiding — that is what we are praying.”

But the headlines spell out the worst fears for Zahra’s family and the friends she left behind in Australia: Police fear Zahra murdered.

“The worst fears for the North Queensland schoolgirl ... appear to have come true,” said the Bulletin in its report on the case turning from an abduction to a homicide investigation.
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PostSubject: Money and legal trouble follow Zahra's parents   Sun Oct 17, 2010 7:38 am

Money and legal trouble follow Zahra's parents








Credit: Photo from Amber Fairchild's myspace page
Caption on website reads: "Mr.and Mrs. Adam Baker." The couple married in July 2008 in Australia.


Related Links

» Gallery: Disappearance of Zahra Baker



Related Content



Lengthy criminal records ELISA ANNETTE BAKER:Worthless checks:Catawba County May 18, 200 ...


Lengthy criminal records

ELISA ANNETTE BAKER:
Worthless checks:
Catawba County

  • May 18, 2009: $64.88 to Fresh Air Galaxy
  • May 13: $122.47 to Food Lion
  • May 21: $136.49 to Bottom Dollar
  • May 21: $158.04 to Food Lion

Total: $481.88
Caldwell County
* May 13, 2009: $70.48 to Food Lion
* May 16, 2009: $58.78 to Food Lion
* May 17, 2009: $72.87 to Food Lion
* May 30, 2009: $107.30 to Fair Value
* Feb. 18: $595 to MWS Enterprises for back rent
* May 14: $84.26 to Food Lion
Total: $988.69

ADAM T. BAKER:
Worthless checks:
Caldwell County

  • May 11, 2009: $58.66 to Lowes Food Store
  • May 11, 2009: $81.87 to Food Lion
  • May 15, 2009: $63.40 to Food Lion
  • May 20, 2009: $64.86 to Food Lion
  • May 13: $110.62 to Food Lion

Total: $379.41
Baker also has outstanding warrants stemming from three worthless checks worth a combined $204.60. The checks were allegedly written at Catawba County Lowes Food Stores within a six-day span in May 2009.
Total worthless checks for both Bakers: $2,054.58
(The value of the worthless checks includes the fee imposed by the retail store, usually $25, and associated bank fees ranging to $10.)
View more




By Richard Gould
Published: October 16, 2010

winstonsalem_782:http://www2.hickoryrecord.com/news/2010/oct/16/money-and-legal-trouble-follow-zahras-parents-ar-462500/


Zahra Baker’s father and stepmother, Adam and Elisa, have an extensive criminal history and the majority of the charges currently pending against them are tied to money problems. Charges were filed, arrests were made and the Bakers established a pattern of not showing up for their court dates.

A criminal records check in Catawba and Caldwell counties revealed that the couple is facing a combined total of 18 charges of writing bad checks worth a combined $2,054.58. All but one of the checks were written at area grocery stores. The remaining check, written for $595, was for back rent, said the Bakers’ former landlord Mark Sims.

Sims said the Bakers rented a singlewide mobile home in Country Manor Estates in Hudson. He charged $115 per week, according to court documents accompanying the eviction notice he served on Adam Baker in December 2009. Baker owed $1,114 in back rent.

Three months later, Sims filed an eviction notice against Elisa Baker, who owed $1,612 in back rent.

Sims was unclear on the circumstances surrounding the Bakers’ evictions and said he couldn’t remember why two separate eviction notices were served on them.

Sims said he didn’t speak to the Bakers often, but when he did they were polite. When he called Baker to tell her she was late on her rent, “She said, ‘I will bring you by a check today,’ and she brought one by,” Sims said. When the $595 check bounced, she apologized and brought Sims a cash payment for part of what she owed.
“She was never angry with me,” he said.
Her teenage neighbors remember her differently.

Corrine Yount, 15, and her friend Brandy Hefner, 16, took out an arrest warrant on Baker for communicating threats on May 23, 2010.

Yount said the incident began when she and her friend noticed Zahra crying as she walked up a steep hill behind her house.

“She was making Zahra walk up the hill by herself because that’s how she would punish her because she (Elisa) knew it would hurt Zahra’s leg,” Yount said.

Baker came out of her trailer and started screaming and threatening the girls.

“She said, ‘I’m going to teach these two teenagers a lesson and whip their butts,’” Yount said.

Baker continued to shout threats until Hefner’s mother came out of the house and asked what was going on and Baker left, according to the arrest warrant.
Yount said she spoke to Zahra a few times and saw that she was a very sweet girl. She also said people in the neighborhood knew Baker was abusive to Zahra and they tried to get law enforcement involved.

“You could hear Zahra screaming and Elisa yelling at her, so we would call the police,” Yount said. “We called DSS (the Caldwell County Department of Social Services) on her too, but they never did anything.”

Adam and Elisa Baker were arrested for communicating threats against their family members too.

They were arrested on May 22, 2010 and charged with communicating threats against Elisa’s niece Brittany Bentley, her fiancé Zackery Tyler and the couple’s 7-month-old daughter. The threats stemmed from an outstanding debt Bentley owed them, according to the arrest warrant.

“He (Adam Baker) chased me and my fiancée. He literally tried to run us off the road twice,” wrote Tyler in the complaint accompanying the warrant. “He got in the opposite lane, swerved at the driver’s side and we had to swerve to keep from getting hit, then he passed us and slammed his brakes. We had to slam our brakes and still almost hit him.”

The couple went home and gave Baker the money she was owed, but she demanded more. She and Adam threatened the couple with Tasers, according to the arrest warrant.

“They said they would kill me and Brittany Bentley and that they knew where our daughter was and they would kill her if I didn’t pay her,” Tyler wrote.
Bentley’s complaint is similar but provides additional detail.

“Then she went to my mom’s where my daughter was with a supposed gun after she threatened to kill my daughter,” Brittany wrote. “I fear for mine and my daughter’s and fiance’s life.”

The Bakers were charged with communicating threats as a result of the incident. Adam was also charged with assault with a deadly weapon for allegedly trying to run the couple off the road.

In March 2010, the Bakers were arrested and charged for failing to return a laptop computer, a 42-inch Zenith television, a stereo and a living room suite worth $2,411.69, according to court documents. The couple had rented the furniture and electronics from Bestway Rent to Own in Lenoir.

On the rental application Baker filled out she lists her occupation as “disabled” and her monthly income as $591.
As with the above charges, the Bakers failed to appear at their scheduled court date on June 30, 2010.

Elisa Baker is in the Catawba County jail under a total bond of $72,200 secured – $32,200 for more than a dozen charges unrelated to Zahra’s disappearance and $40,000 on a charge of obstruction of justice. She was charged with obstruction of justice Tuesday after confessing to police that she’d written a fake ransom note demanding $1 million.

Adam Baker is cooperating with investigators as they search for Zahra, said Hickory Police.
Anyone with information about Zahra’s disappearance or her location is asked to call 911, or the Hickory Police Department at 328-5551.
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