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 ZAHRA CLAIRE BAKER

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sanny
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PostSubject: Elisa Baker's Bond Set At $10k For Bigamy Charge   Sat Jan 22, 2011 11:37 am

Elisa Baker’s Bond Set At $10K For Bigamy Charge


Posted: 3:12 pm EST January 21, 2011

Updated: 3:40 pm EST January 21, 2011

NEWTON, N.C. -- Bond for Zahra Baker’s stepmother, Elisa Baker, was set at $10,000 after she was indicted earlier this week on a bigamy charge.

Elisa Baker has been jailed on an obstruction of justice charge since early October, after police said she admitted to writing a fake ransom note on the day Zahra Baker was reported missing. The 10-year-old girl’s remains were later found in the Dudley Shoals area of Caldwell County. No one has been charged in her death.

The indictment related to the bigamy charge against Elisa Baker says she married Zahra’s father, Adam Baker, two years ago while she was still married to another man. Her bond on that charge was set Friday.

Elisa Baker’s next court appearance is scheduled for March 7.
Copyright 2011 by WSOCTV.com.
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PostSubject: Elisa Baker arraigned on bigamy charges   Sat Jan 22, 2011 11:44 am

Elisa Baker arraigned on bigamy charges







Adam Baker and Elisa Baker


By Sarah Newell williamson
Published: January 21, 2011

HICKORY --


Elisa Baker was arraigned Friday on one count of felony bigamy charges. Court officials served the indictment to her in jail late Friday morning.

Baker, 42, is accused of still being married to her previous husband, Aaron Young, when she married Adam Baker in December 2008. She was indicted on one count of bigamy on Tuesday.

According to court documents, Young got a divorce from Elisa on Aug. 21, 2009 — several months after her wedding in Australia to Adam. In the divorce filing, Young used Elisa’s new last name of Baker in the filing. Young initially filed for divorce from Elisa on June 28, 2009. They filed for divorce because they had not lived together as man and wife since May 29, 2008, according to documents.

Elisa was given an additional $10,000 secured bond for the bigamy charge Friday, bringing her total bond amount to $107,700.

Elisa Baker is the stepmother of Zahra Baker, the 10-year-old Australian child who was first reported missing in October. Police determined she’d been killed and dismembered. Investigators have found a lot of evidence in the case, but no one has been charged yet in Zahra’s death. Elisa has been indicted on one count of obstruction of justice for writing a false ransom note to throw police off the case.

Young’s name has come up in the search warrants. Police wanted information from his cell phone pertaining to calls, texts and GPS locations from Sept. 1 through Oct. 11, hoping it would help with their investigation. They also got information from his IMVU social networking account, because a source told them that he, and either Elisa or Adam blogged with someone else in this virtual world about “doing a murder with chainsaws.”

On Friday, Zahra’s father, Adam Baker, was scheduled to appear in court on four counts of worthless check charges. The checks were used at area grocery stores and were written for a combined total of $244.10.

Neither Baker, nor his attorney Mark Killian, appeared at the courthouse. Killian had requested a continuance.

Baker’s new court date is April 29. Elisa’s next court date is March 7.
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PostSubject: Death certificate lists Zahra's cause of death as 'pending'   Wed Jan 26, 2011 11:00 am

Death certificate lists Zahra's cause of death as 'pending'



Jan 25, 2011 6:33 PM EST


Zahra Baker
Adam Baker (left) and Elisa Baker (right). Click image to enlarge



HICKORY, NC (WBTV) - A death certificate for Zahra Baker has been filed with the Catawba County Register of Deeds office.

The certificate sets the date of death on October 26, the date remains were found in Caldwell County. The remains of the 10-year-old girl have been found in at least two different places and her stepmother has said that the girl was dismembered after she died, according to search warrants.

Full Coverage: Follow the entire Zahra Baker case

The cause of death on the certificate is listed as "Pending." There is a notation that an autopsy was conducted at the state medical examiner's office and that the remains are still there.

It is not unusual, say authorities, for cause of death to be listed as "Pending" if the medical examiner is still awaiting more test results or information from investigators. Authorities would not comment whether that was the case.

The date of death can also be changed depending on test results and information obtained through an investigation.

In search warrants released earlier this month, Elisa Baker was quoted as telling police Zahra died on September 24. In other search warrants, Elisa Baker also said that Zahra's bones, blood and bodily fluids could be found in pipes at the family's home.

Elisa Baker, 42, is in the Catawba County Jail on several worthless check charges and on a charge for obstruction of justice, for allegedly writing a fake ransom note when Zahra went missing in early October, police have said.

She was scheduled to appear in court last Friday, but instead had the bigamy charge served to her while she was in jail and $10,000 more added to her bond.

The latest worthless check charge – from Catawba County – is now also added to the other 6 "simple worthless check" charges against Baker.

Last week was an active week in the Zahra Baker case: Eliza Baker was already indicted this week for bigamy after police said she was not divorced from a man before being married to Zahra's father, Adam Baker is the summer of 2008. (Read the story about the bigamy indictment)

Also, a briefcase was found in woods near where parts of Zahra's body was found, which contains a blanket that might have blood on it. (Read the story about the briefcase)

This week's worthless check charge has a $500 bond, which now brings the total bond for Elisa Baker in the Catawba County Jail to $107,700.

No one has been charged in the death of Zahra, but Elisa Baker did tell authorities that her blood, bones and bodily fluid could be found in the pipes of the Hickory house, according to warrants.

Copyright 2011 WBTV. All rights reserved.
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PostSubject: Re: ZAHRA CLAIRE BAKER   Wed Jan 26, 2011 4:27 pm

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PostSubject: Adam and Elisa Baker get new court dates   Fri Jan 28, 2011 1:10 pm


Adam and Elisa Baker get new court dates


Bakers were due in court for communicating threats, worthless checks.



Related

Adam Baker’s charges:-5 counts worthless checks-1 count failure to return rental property-2 counts communicating threats-1 count misdemeanor assault with a deadly w ...

Credit: ROBERT C. REED/RECORD
Adam Baker leaves the law office of Pearce Law Firm in Lenoir Thu ...

Credit: ROBERT C. REED/RECORD
Adam Baker tries to avoid the media as he leaves the law office o ...




By SARAH NEWELL WILLIAMSON
Published: January 27, 2011


!LENOIR --

Elisa and Adam Baker were due in court Thursday for 27 different charges or citations between the two of them.

The couple was scheduled to appear on several charges of worthless checks and communicating threats, among others. Adam andElisa are the father and stepmother to Zahra Baker, the 10-year-old girl who was reported missing in October. Police determined she'd been killed later that month, and found her dismembered remains scattered throughout Caldwell County. No one has been charged with her death.

According to search warrants, Zahra was likely killed on Sept. 24, with her body disposed of the following day. In one search warrant, Elisa told investigators that blood, body fluids and pieces of bone may be located in the drain trap of the bathtub at her house in Hickory.

Neither Elisa nor Adam appeared in court Thursday, with Elisa's attorney, Scott Reilly, appearing on her behalf. Elisa, 42, remains jailed in Catawba County on one count of obstruction of justice in for writing a false ransom note and one count of bigamy.

Adam, 33, was spotted by himself at the Lenoir law office of Shel Pearce, was court-appointed to represent Adam on Nov. 18. Pearce represents Adam on five counts of worthless checks, assault with a deadly weapon, two counts of communicating threats and failure to return rental property.

Elisa and Adam were both given new court dates of April 11.
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PostSubject: Will there be justice for Zahra Baker?   Sun Jan 30, 2011 2:01 am


Will there be justice for Zahra Baker?


No one charged in death after 3 months, raising fears that no one will be held accountable.


By Gary L. Wright and Franco Ordoñez
gwright@charlotteobserver.com and fordonez@charlotteobserver.com
Posted: Saturday, Jan. 29, 2011



Slideshow
« Prev of 2Next »






  • Hickory Mayor Rudy Wright posted a large photo of Zahra Baker on the wall of his business. "This is a picture of a young girl who did not get the opportunity to put her troubles behind her," he says. "I think that drew people to her and her plight." JEFF WILLHELM - jwillhelm@charlotteobserver.comBuy Photo | Store


  • Zahra








HICKORY More than three months have passed since Zahra Baker was reported missing. Although police found her body in pieces, no one has been charged in the 10-year-old's death.
The delay worries those who want someone held accountable.
They fear the lack of criminal charges signals problems with the case. And the bizarre circumstances surrounding the girl's death have led some friends, family, even area prosecutors to wonder: Can there be justice for Zahra?
"Everyone is frustrated," says Hickory Mayor Rudy Wright, who has plastered a large photo of Zahra on his business along Fairgrove Church Road. "This little girl struck a chord with all of us. ... People want somebody charged."
Catawba County's District Attorney James Gaither Jr. won't discuss the case - or explain why so much time has passed without charges in the death. Experts say he is probably awaiting a complete accounting of evidence from police and medical examiners before deciding what charges he can prove.
Last week, Hickory police turned over the majority of their investigation to the D.A. Zahra's autopsy is not yet complete, but the file is stuffed with recorded interviews, reports and detailed backgrounds on Zahra, her parents and other relatives.
"I've been doing this 26 years, and I've never seen a case file this big," says Hickory police Major Clyde Deal. "That poor little girl went through things that no 10-year-old should go through."
Zahra's smiling face, broadcast in photos worldwide, has captured hearts from her Hickory home to places far beyond. Her story of surviving cancer, losing a leg, living with a hearing impairment and yet somehow remaining upbeat, has endeared her to people.
Many believe Zahra must have been killed because her body was dismembered and tossed along roadsides. "We just want whoever did this to be held responsible," says one of Zahra's relatives.
'Slowly and cautiously'
Murder charges often quickly follow killings, say prosecutors, because they're a police department's top priority. But it's not unusual for charges to lag in cases like Zahra's, with complicated evidence and few, if any, eyewitnesses.
"Taking it slowly and cautiously is the right thing to do," says former Mecklenburg prosecutor Steve Ward. "Prosecutors have to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If they can't do that, there will be an acquittal."
Prosecuting anyone for killing Zahra won't be easy.
The girl's remains lay out in heat and rain for weeks, and only parts of her body were recovered. Finding a definitive cause for her death may be impossible, say experts, which would make it hard - but not impossible - to prove a killing took place.
Zahra's stepmother Elisa Baker says she found the girl dead after an illness on Sept. 24 - two weeks before the girl was reported missing and a month before any remains were found.
Elisa Baker says her husband, Adam Baker, dismembered his daughter's body, and that the couple disposed of it in various locations on Sept. 25.
Court documents don't say why the pair would do such a thing.
Relatives suggest the Bakers feared authorities because Elisa Baker, 42, had been under scrutiny by the Department of Social Services, and Adam Baker, 33, is in the country illegally from his native Australia.
But prosecutors in the Charlotte region are skeptical of those explanations.
"Dismembering the body is not what someone does to a loved one when they die of natural causes," says Ward.
More likely, he says, such desperate measures are an attempt to cover up a crime - and could help persuade a jury to support a murder conviction.
UNC Charlotte's criminal justice chair Beth Bjerregaard says: "Not knowing the cause of death is a stumbling block, but it's not insurmountable. Prosecutors will have to use circumstantial evidence. In this case, that would include what was done to Zahra's body after her death."
Even if a child dies naturally from illness, prosecutors say, juries have found parents guilty of manslaughter if they failed to seek proper medical treatment.
"Parents have an obligation to take their children to a doctor when they're sick," Ward says. "If they don't, they are recklessly disregarding the child's well being. Parents just can't let a sick child die."
Focus on Elisa Baker's role
Court documents suggest investigators remain focused on what role, if any, Elisa Baker played in Zahra's death. They have gathered a multitude of records from her life - from phone records; to DSS reports on her history with her biological children, as well as with Zahra; to medical records from nine locations including a state psychiatric hospital. Police have also studied Elisa Baker's relationships with an ex-husband and his cousins, and what interactions those men may have had with Zahra.
Adam Baker's explanation of events is less clear than his wife's.
He has denied wrongdoing, and police say a GPS device in Adam Baker's phone suggests he was not in the areas where Zahra's body was dumped.
Adam Baker called 911 on Oct. 9 to report his daughter missing.
He told the dispatcher in the 2 p.m. phone call: "We checked (on Zahra) last night about 2:30 and she was there."
He went on to say his daughter might have been kidnapped.
He then explained with a chuckle why he hadn't seen Zahra in nearly 12 hours: "My daughter is I think coming into puberty so she's hitting that brooding stage. So we only see her when she comes out when she wants something."
But as investigators plunged in, Adam Baker's story changed. Police say he told investigators later on Oct. 9 that he hadn't seen Zahra since Wednesday, three days earlier.
It remains unclear whether Adam Baker knew his daughter had been missing for days or possibly weeks - or whether he believed she was somewhere safe. He has declined to discuss the case.
Investigators almost immediately ruled out the Bakers' initial story that Zahra must have been snatched by unwitting kidnappers who had intended to abduct the child of Adam Baker's boss. He owns the Hickory house the Bakers were renting, so maybe - the Bakers suggested - confused kidnappers accidentally took Zahra.
But just one day after Zahra was reported missing, police jailed Elisa Baker on a charge of obstructing justice, saying she'd admitted writing a phony ransom note that claimed a kidnapping had taken place.
Area prosecutors say a phony ransom note would almost certainly be used at trial to suggest the author was covering up something.
Other circumstantial material might include any evidence that Elisa Baker abused Zahra or her biological children.
DSS has refused to discuss what social workers did - or failed to do - to protect Zahra. But an attorney for Elisa Baker has said that DSS investigated allegations but did not substantiate that abuse took place.
If prosecutors decide such evidence is persuasive, they'd probably find it difficult to introduce historical behavior in a trial. Judges often fear so-called "bad acts" from someone's past can unfairly influence a jury and distract them from focusing on evidence of the crime at hand.
High-profile case for Gaither
The case of Zahra Baker - the little Australian girl who moved to America with her dad - now rests with Gaither for possible action.
The Hickory lawyer beginning his third term as District Attorney has never had such a high-profile case.
In a written statement, he offers no hint that Zahra's case is any different from others.
"In every case we seek justice for the victims of crime and the community...," he says. "In determining what charges are appropriate we are guided exclusively by the evidence, the law and our duty to seek justice."
But area prosecutors agree Gaither must feel heat to punish someone.
Gaither was quick to challenge a TV report in December that he'd signed a deal with Elisa Baker, removing the death penalty and first-degree murder charges as possible punishment in exchange for her help recovering Zahra's body.
Gaither won't say whether any deal was signed but he insisted "if there is sufficient and credible evidence to prove that Elisa Baker was involved in the death of Zahra Baker, the State is under no obligation to limit charges."
A first-degree murder conviction carries life in prison without parole - or possibly the death penalty.
Second-degree murder is punishable by prison time ranging from about eight years to more than 30 years, depending on akiller's criminal record.
Prison time for manslaughter also depends on past convictions, and ranges from 10 months to four years.
If Gaither decides he can't prove that Zahra was killed, he might be left only to seek lesser charges in the case.
Elisa Baker already faces the obstruction charge, and was recently charged with bigamy: Police say she married Adam Baker in 2008, a year before divorcing her previous husband. Concealing a death is also a crime in North Carolina.
Convictions for all those crimes would probably result in about a year's prison time - or possibly probation - for someone with a minor criminal record, like Elisa Baker. She has long-ago convictions for assault and worthless checks, and both she and her husband face pending charges of communicating threats, worthless checks and failing to return rental property.
Police Major Deal isn't shy about describing Zahra's case as extraordinary.
His department has thrown all available resources into investigating leads and gathering evidence. "Everyone is committed to doing the best job they can," he says.
Mayor Wright applauds the painstaking approach.
"People here are being patient," he says. "They understand the need to make sure the charges are right.
"But people are frustrated that we have not been able to solve the case as yet.
"They want the case solved. If the case can be solved, we want charges. ... We want to be able to say justice has been served." Staff Writer Liz Chandler and researcher Maria David contributed.


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PostSubject: Zahra Baker Case turned over to District Attorney's office   Tue Feb 01, 2011 12:04 am

Zahra Baker case turned over to district attorney's office


DA's office has the information it needs to file charges in the case, investigator says.


January 31, 2011)

Hickory Police have turned over case files for the Baker case to the District Attorney's office. (more)





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Credit: Robert C. Reed | Hickory Daily Record






Eric Farr's hand spans the thickness of one of two large binders from the Hickory Police Department, containing evidence in the Zahra Baker case. Credit: Robert C. Reed | Hickory Daily Record




  • Eric Farr, spokesperson for the Catawba County District Attorney's office, flips through one of two large binders from the Hickory Police Department, containing evidence in the Zahra Baker case. The case files include 183 CDs and DVDs, containing 11,000 electronic pages of material. Credit: Robert C. Reed | Hickory Daily Record


  • Eric Farr, spokesperson for the Catawba County District Attorney's office, answers questions from the local media about the Zahra Baker evidence files. Hickory Police Department turned the case files over to the district attorney's office last Wednesday for review. Credit: Robert C. Reed | Hickory Daily Record


  • Eric Farr, with the Catawba County District Attorney's office, turns through pages of CDs and DVDs of evidence from one of the two binders in the Zahra Baker case. Credit: ROBERT C. REED/RECORD

By Sarah Newell williamson
Published: January 31, 2011



NEWTON --
The district attorney’s office is reviewing more than 11,000 pages of the Hickory Police Department’s investigation into the death of Zahra Clare Baker.

The police department turned its investigative file over to the district attorney’s office late Wednesday afternoon, said Eric Farr, spokesman for the district attorney’s office.

“What we’ve done is sent everything in an organized fashion that we have to make a decision on charges,” said Maj. Clyde Deal with the Hickory Police Department, and one of the lead investigators in the case.

He said it is one of the most comprehensive, exhaustive investigations the area’s been involved in.

“I’ve been with the Hickory Police Department for almost 26 years, and I don’t recall any case file being this large,” Deal said. “It’s the biggest case I’ve worked on.”

The case file the police department submitted to the district attorney’s office fills two five-inch notebooks, and includes 117 DVDs of interviews and 65 DVDs with phone records and photos, Deal said. There are 11,000 pages on discs, and that doesn’t include what the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation will submit.

“It is an exhaustively thorough investigation, and we applaud the Hickory Police Department and the cooperating agencies for their work,” Farr said. “Now we begin the process of evaluating it and determining what charges will be filed.”

He said that will take some time.

The investigation into 10-year-old Zahra’s disappearance began Oct. 9 with the Hickory Fire Department receiving a call about a fire in the backyard of Adam and Elisa Baker’s home at 5:20 a.m. A firefighter spotted a ransom note on one of the cars and called police. Zahra was not reported missing until about 2 p.m., however, by her father, Adam.

Since then, the investigation has had several twists. Zahra’s stepmother, Elisa, indicted for felony obstruction of justice for writing the false ransom note, as well as being for bigamy. Zahra’s prosthetic leg and one of her bones were found on Christie Road in Caldwell County, and skeletal remains of Zahra’s were found just a few miles away on Dudley Shoals Road. Other evidence in connection with the cancer-survivor’s death has been found throughout Caldwell and Catawba counties, including the house where the Bakers lived in Hickory.

Police have investigated Adam and Elisa, as well as several other people the couple have had close ties with. According to search warrants, Elisa said Zahra died Sept. 24 and she was disposed of on Sept. 25. Elisa said Adam helped get rid of Zahra’s body. The GPS in Elisa’s cell phone showed she was in the areas in Caldwell County where Zahra’s body was found on Sept. 25, but Adam was not, search warrants state.

“It’s been a constant work in progress since we got the call,” Deal said. “It’s still an ongoing investigation with us. Things like the briefcase still pop up, and we’ll work on those.”

The police department also receives tips about where Zahra may have been seen last, which investigators must look into.

Deal said the briefcase, found Jan. 18 off Christie Road, is likely not connected to Zahra’s death. However, when the report comes back from the lab, it will be added to the file as well, since it has paperwork filed with the case.

“We’ll wait for the forensic evidence then we’ll document it,” he said.

As the police department receives other evidence, investigators will put it in an Adobe pdf file in a notebook, so it will all be in one place and can give that to the district attorney’s office at one time.

“These would be other things you may need at trial, but not right now,” Deal said. “This is still an active, ongoing investigation, and the important thing is to do it right the first time.”

Several people in the district attorney’s office are now reviewing the Zahra Baker investigative file. As information comes in from the SBI’s investigation, they’ll review that, as well.
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PostSubject: Report: Zahra's Stepmom Was Married 7 Times   Thu Feb 03, 2011 12:00 pm

Report: Zahra's Stepmom Was Married 7 Times









Posted: 8:32 am EST February 3, 2011

GAFFNEY, S.C. -- The stepmother of the North Carolina girl whose dismembered remains were found in the western part of the state was married seven times, and she was wed to more than one man on several occasions, according to an Associated Press investigation.
Elisa Baker was indicted last month on a bigamy charge involving her marriage to Zahra Baker's father, Adam, and another man, but AP found documents at half a dozen county courthouses that showed at one point she was married to three men at the same time, calling into question the single charge.
The question of bigamy is unrelated to Zahra's case. No one has been charged in her death, although Elisa Baker is jailed on charges of obstructing the investigation into her stepdaughter's disappearance. Zahra's parents reported her missing Oct. 9, and her remains were found several miles apart a few weeks later.
A glimpse into Elisa Baker's personal life and her ability to stay ahead of a porous marriage-licensing system help explain how a woman burning through relationships in the Appalachian foothills eventually came to meet Adam Baker, who lived halfway around the world in Australia.
Elisa Baker's marriage trail starts in Gaffney, the seat of Cherokee County, about 60 miles south of where she sits in jail. In Gaffney, she married four different men between 1987 and 1998, according to marriage licenses. It's not clear why she chose Gaffney, since both North and South Carolina are like most states when it comes to requirements for two adults planning to get married: no blood tests, no background checks, no health records.
"When they complete an application for a marriage license, they understand they're signing it under oath," said Cherokee County Probate Judge Joshua Queen, and people can face legal penalties if they lie.
But essentially, he said, couples are on the honor system. Marriage licenses are maintained more for record keeping purposes than as safeguards against lawbreaking.
"No one does a background check," said Suzanne Reynolds, executive associate dean at Wake Forest University School of Law. "The trend throughout the whole country is toward fewer marriage requirements rather than more."
Elisa Baker's earliest two marriages seem to have been valid, although the first, which occurred when she was a minor, was quickly annulled at the request of the teenage groom's father.
It was her third marriage, to Andrew Harris Jr., that raises questions. She was divorced from him on Dec. 14, 1995 -- 10 months after she wed Darrell Putnam, getting her marriage license in Gaffney.
That likely means her marriage to Putnam was invalid, according to University of North Carolina School of Law professor Maxine Eichner.
"If you're in a valid marriage and you get married again, and the first marriage hasn't been dissolved by either divorce or by being annulled, then the second marriage has no effect," Eichner said.
Putnam eventually had the marriage annulled in 1999. By then, Elisa had married again -- twice.
Husband number five was Jeffrey Allred, who married Elisa on Oct. 3, 1997. Allred told The Associated Press he walked out in the spring of 1998, and was so damaged by the experience he never got a divorce.
"She messed me up bad. To this day I won't get married. Never," he said.
The AP wasn't able to find any record of a divorce, and court clerks who checked statewide databases couldn't find any divorce filings involving the pair in North Carolina.
After Allred, Elisa wed again, marrying Aaron Young on Aug. 8, 1998, again getting a license in Gaffney. She had married three men in three years -- and was not legally divorced from any of them.
That likely means her unions with both Young and Adam Baker are invalid, according to Reynolds, although a conviction for bigamy -- punishable by up to five years in prison in North Carolina -- is still possible.
It's not clear if prosecutors in Catawba County, N.C., where Baker faces the bigamy charge, have begun to unravel this thread. Calls to District Attorney Jay Gaither's office were not returned, and neither Elisa Baker nor her lawyers responded to calls or written requests for comment.
"This probably used to happen more, before the era of instant communication and computers," Eichner said. "Every now and then, though, a kind of outrageous case still comes up."
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.
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PostSubject: Work Completed On Permanent Zahra Memorial   Fri Feb 04, 2011 12:30 am

Work Completed On Permanent Zahra Memorial


Posted: 3:17 pm EST February 3, 2011


CALDWELL COUNTY, N.C. -- Work on a permanent memorial for Zahra Baker, whose dismembered remains were found in Caldwell County, was finished Thursday.
The memorial is on Christie Road, near where police found Zahra’s prosthetic leg and some of her remains in the fall. The 10-year-old girl wore the prosthetic leg because she lost her own to cancer.
Jake and Priscilla Icenhour own the property and said they wanted to remember Zahra.
“She is such a precious child, with all the pictures and everybody who knew her said she is such a sweet child,” Priscilla Icenhour said.
Community members have donated items to be placed around the site, and a local concrete company donated the cement for the memorial.
Copyright 2011 by WSOCTV.com.
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PostSubject: Dismembered girl's stepmom led a trouble life   Fri Feb 04, 2011 9:40 am

Dismembered girl's stepmom led a troubled life


In seven years, Elisa Baker had no fewer than 42 different addresses





Anonymous / AP Elisa Baker, the stepmother 10-year-old Zahra Clare Baker was indicted in January 2011 on a bigamy charge involving her marriage to Zahra Clare Baker's father, Adam Baker, and another man, but AP found documents at a half a dozen county courthouses that showed at one point she was married to three men at the same time, calling into question the single charge.



By MITCH WEISS, TOM BREEN
The Associated Press
updated 2/3/2011 3:26:44 PM ET 2011-02-03T20:26:44


HICKORY, N.C. — Elisa Baker had an uncanny ability to stay ahead of bill collectors, police, social workers and her multiple husbands, The Associated Press discovered in an investigation of the woman who led authorities to the dismembered remains of her disabled, 10-year-old stepdaughter.

Few saw her pattern because when she abandoned a relationship, she usually severed all ties. In seven years, she had no fewer than 42 different addresses. During a different three-year stretch, she was married to three men at the same time.

In interviews with three dozen people, and a review of hundreds of court and police documents, AP unraveled a life of deception described by friends, family and the vulnerable men she wed, including some with disabilities. At times, they said, she was physically abusive.


Elisa Baker is charged with obstructing the investigation of the disappearance of Zahra Baker, the freckle-faced girl who fought bone cancer, but no one has been charged in Zahra's death.

The stepmother has been the center of the investigation, though, and the details of her strained relationships and early family life help explain why.

Neither Elisa Baker, 42, who is jailed, nor her attorneys, responded to repeated requests for comment. Other members of her family, including her daughters, declined to speak with the AP.

Those who knew Elisa described an attractive high school student who became manipulative, cunning and insecure, struggling with obesity. Even as she got older and gained more weight, men were drawn to her.
At other times, she detached herself from society, immersed in the online world. There, she made herself over as E'lesa, a darkly glamorous woman whose allure reached Zahra's father, Adam Baker, an Australian who lived far from her economically depressed corner of Appalachia.


"This is a woman who thought she could talk her way out of anything, that she was smarter than everybody else. But she never told the truth," said Andrew Harris Jr., her third husband. "She hurt a lot of people."

Born Elisa Fairchild, she grew up as the middle child of three girls whose parents worked in the western North Carolina textile mills and furniture factories in the late 1960s. She was a pretty, chubby-cheeked girl with jet-black hair.

Her father doted on her while her mom was the disciplinarian. As she approached her teenage years, she began talking back, swearing at her mother, who would slap her, said Elisa's aunt, Bonzetta Winkler.

"That was just the way people around here disciplined their children," her aunt said.

In school, Elisa was popular.

"We went to football games. School dances — she was a good dancer," said Jerry Allen Winkler, who dated her off and on in high school. Winkler is not related to Elisa's aunt.
AP Darrell Putnam poses with his then-wife, Elisa Baker. Putnam eventually had the marriage annulled in 1999.


Elisa and Jerry Winkler both dropped out of school and lost touch for about a year before he ran into her at a local gas station. She was with her newborn, Amber, and told Winkler the baby's father had left her.

Jerry Winkler asked her out, and a week later, he proposed.

Since they were both under 18, they needed their parents' permission. They lied to Winkler's parents and told them he was the father. To prove it, they forged a copy of a blood test.

They were married Sept. 14, 1985. Within days, Winkler was overwhelmed. "I was 17 and married with a kid. It just hit me all at once and I wanted out," he said.

Winkler's father was upset, too, because he was tricked into giving permission. The father asked a judge to annul the marriage, which was done less than four months after it began.
A rocky marriage
Nearly a year later, she met Joseph Proctor, who walked with a limp from a near-fatal car accident. They dated for months, and when she told Proctor she was pregnant, he proposed.


They were married Sept. 5, 1987. She was 19; he was 28. Their son, Douglas, was born a few months later. A year later, they had their second child, Brittany.

The marriage was rocky. The couple lived in a home owned by Proctor's mother, Levirtis White. In April 1989, White asked a judge for a restraining order, claiming Elisa was stealing and destroying property in the home.

According to the mother-in-law, Elisa said: "If I have to get out of here, I'll burn the house down. I'm going to kill this baby. I'm going to wreck this car. I'll kill those kids."

Two months later, the couple reconciled. Proctor's mother dropped the complaint.

Their divorce wasn't final until 1992, but the relationship ended Christmas Day in 1990 when Elisa walked out. She gained custody of Amber and Brittany; Douglas went to live with Proctor.

'She was easy to talk to'
Andrew Harris Jr. recalled the first time he spotted Elisa, nursing a Jack Daniels at a little honky-tonk in Lincolnton.

He had just walked into the Tri-County Bar after another long shift at the J.P. Stevens textile plant. She waved at him.

"We just hit it off," he said. "She was easy to talk to."

They married a few months later on April 17, 1992.

Soon her personality changed. She was often angry, and she took it out on her daughters, Harris said. She yelled and hit them, he said.

"I'd say to her, 'Why do you have them in their rooms again?' She'd just start mumbling about how she didn't want to deal with them. The truth is she treated them like dirt," he said.
After a fight in early 1994, Harris left the house for a few days. When he returned, it was empty. No furniture, guns or fishing rods.
"There was nothing nice about that woman," he said.

Her mom died of cancer
In the fall of 1994, a neighbor told Darrell Putnam she had found the perfect woman for him. Putnam was 30 and had been deaf nearly his entire life. He can understand speech with his hearing aids on, but his disability made it difficult for him to find dates, said his mother, Margie Putnam.

Elisa and Darrell Putnam went to a bar. She told him about her girls, but lied and said 8-year-old Amber had cancer.

Within weeks, they moved in together.

About this time, Elisa's mother died of cancer, and she had ballooned to more than 300 pounds.

"I wouldn't see her for days," Darrell Putnam said, at times using sign language as his mother interpreted. "She would go out and get drunk and carry on. She was never home."

Worse, when she was there, she would "smack around" her children, Darrell Putnam said.

They married Feb. 4, 1995, but their relationship quickly disintegrated.

One day after work, Putnam found her in bed with another man. He walked to his mother's house, and returned a few days later. Everything was gone, including his expensive hearing aids.

"All he wanted was a family," Margie Putnam said. "He loved those girls. He stayed with her because of those girls. But in the end she broke his heart. She was pure evil."

'I just couldn't take the abuse anymore'
Jeffrey Allred remembers, with a shudder, the last time he saw her in the spring of 1998.

She had put her daughters in the car and headed to Walmart for groceries. When the tail lights receded in the night, he pulled a packed suitcase from a bedroom closet, jumped in his truck and headed in the opposite direction.

"I just couldn't take the abuse anymore," said the 6-foot-2 Allred, who weighs 260 pounds.

He said she beat him with a baseball bat and threw rocks at him. He was so spooked that he never divorced her; he was too afraid he might see her in court.

The relationship didn't start out that way. There were nights when they would drive around the upscale neighborhoods of Hickory, and she would tell him her dream was to live in one of the grand houses.

They married Oct. 3, 1997, then she changed. "It was like a light switch went off and she said: 'I got him now,'" he said.

Long hours on the internet
Aaron Young, who met Elisa while she was married to Allred, picked up the pieces. It was the first time a woman had paid attention to him.

As a child, he had rickets, a bone disease often caused by poor nutrition that can cause skeletal deformities. He had several operations on his left leg, and there was a steel rod in the other, a condition that made him self-conscious and shy.

The couple were married Aug. 8, 1998. She was 30; he was 20.

"He was a very responsible kid," said Young's brother, James. "When he married her, he grew up overnight. He took being married seriously and was a stable influence in those kids' lives."

It was during their marriage that Elisa discovered the Internet. She would spend long hours in front of a computer.

She got tattoos and changed her hair color from blonde to black with fire-engine-red streaks. Aaron Young's mother spotted her kissing another man in a car in 2007, and her sixth marriage ended.

In early 2008, Elisa said she was headed to Australia and she wouldn't be returning."We thought she was making that stuff up, just like she always did," James Young said. "I guess we were wrong."

By this time, she had left a string of eviction notices, small claims judgments and liens against her from landlords, utility companies and other bill collectors, according to court documents reviewed by the AP.

'Her stories seemed very outrageous'
The first time Adam Baker saw his future wife in person was at the airport. They had met through Instant Messaging Virtual Universe, a website where users create three-dimensional characters to represent themselves, using the avatars to interact in a virtual world.

He was 33; she was 40. The couple lived with Adam Baker's mother in Giru, in the southern part of Australia. But his friends and family had their doubts.

"Her stories seemed very outrageous. We kept wondering: What is she doing here?" said Kim Wright, a family friend.

Wright had become something of a surrogate mother to Zahra, whose biological mother left when she was a baby.

They were married in his family's backyard July 8, 2008. A few months later, Adam Baker told his mother he was moving to the U.S.

His family was worried. In Australia, Zahra's medical treatments were free. But Adam Baker told his friends and family Elisa Baker had money and would take care of the bills, Wright said. By now, Zahra was using a prosthetic leg and chemotherapy left her partially deaf, forcing her to use hearing aids.


Kicked out of her father's home
When the couple returned to North Carolina, they moved in with her father, but he quickly kicked them out, presumably over the treatment of Zahra.

Family members and neighbors recalled Elisa Baker hitting Zahra and locking her in her room. Social service agencies in seven counties investigated abuse allegations, but the agency has said they are prohibited by law to discuss the cases.

In September, the couple moved into a house in Hickory. On Oct. 9, they reported Zahra missing. About a month later, Zahra's prosthetic leg was found. Then her remains, in locations 5 miles apart.

"She was always looking for attention," said Allred, her fifth husband. "She always wanted to be known, to be famous. Well, I guess she got what she was looking for after all."

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved
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PostSubject: Always A Bride, Never A Bridesmaid   Fri Feb 04, 2011 4:37 pm

if (window['tickAboveFold']) {window['tickAboveFold'](document.getElementById("latency-1600013073924224210")); }

Always A Bride, Never A Bridesmaid




Zahra's stepmum Elisa Baker was married seven times which has now provoked media into researching her life. She has hurt many before she met Zahra in the fateful encounter, likely leaving her hardened beyond what most would believe. Adam Baker's guilt in the death of Zahra was seen in his 911 call. (see analysis).

There, we learn of his guilt but not in detail. We wait upon police to release more detail and will publish analysis as it comes out, including possible trial.


Elisa Baker allegedly lied about the date Zahra went missing. Elisa Baker marriage history uncovered
Had multiple overlapping marriages
She was arrested after Zahra went missing

THE American stepmother of murdered Australian girl Zahra Baker was married seven times, and was wed to more than one man on several occasions, according to an Associated Press investigation.

Elisa Baker was indicted last month on a bigamy charge involving her marriage to Zahra's Australian father, Adam Baker, and another man, but an AP investigation has found that Elisa Baker had multiple overlapping marriages starting in the 1990s.

AP found documents at half a dozen US county courthouses that showed at one point she was married to three men at the same time, calling into question the single charge.

It's not clear if prosecutors in Catawba County, North Carolina, where 42-year-old Baker faces the bigamy charge, have begun to unravel this thread.

Calls to District Attorney Jay Gaither's office were not returned, and neither Elisa Baker nor her lawyers responded to calls or written requests for comment.


Start of sidebar. Skip to end of sidebar.
Related CoverageEx says he suspected Zahra abuse
The Daily Telegraph, 21 Jan 2011
Zahra's stepmum charged with bigamy
The Daily Telegraph, 19 Jan 2011
Panic as Zahra died
The Daily Telegraph, 6 Jan 2011
Stepmum tells of Zahra killing
Perth Now, 5 Jan 2011
Stepmum tells of Zahra killing
The Daily Telegraph, 5 Jan 2011End of sidebar. Return to start of sidebar.

"This probably used to happen more, before the era of instant communication and computers," University of North Carolina School of Law professor Maxine Eichner said.

"Every now and then, though, a kind of outrageous case still comes up."

The question of bigamy is unrelated to Zahra's case, but if Elisa Baker is convicted of bigamy, it would nullify her marriage to Adam Baker - meaning he could be compelled to testify against her in court because North Carolina's marital privilege law would not apply.

No one has been charged in the murder of Wagga Wagga-born Zahra but Elisa Baker has been locked up in a North Carolina jail since Zahra was reported missing from the family home in Hickory, North Carolina, in October.

Zahra was reported missing on October 9 and Elisa Baker was arrested a day later, accused of writing a fake ransom note.

Zahra's remains and a prosthetic leg she used after battling cancer were found scattered in bushland outside of Hickory late last year.

According to search warrants, Elisa Baker told police Zahra died on September 24 and that Adam Baker dismembered her body and hid parts of it throughout Caldwell County, North Carolina.

However, mobile phone records published in search warrants indicated Elisa Baker's mobile was used in the areas where body parts were found, but phone records for Adam Baker indicated he was not present.

Adam Baker, a former Queensland sugar mill worker, moved to North Carolina with Zahra from Queensland in 2008 after meeting Elisa online.

Adam Baker apparently was clueless that Elisa remained married when they wed in a July 2008 ceremony in Queensland.
----------------------------------------------------------

Follow up:

The new twist in an increasingly bizarre and tragic case came to light after an investigation by the Associated Press news agency uncovered documentary evidence of a string of marriages, at least one of which was never dissolved.

Advertisement: Story continues below It also revealed a pattern where Mrs Baker, formerly Elisa Fairchild, stayed a step ahead of authorities by abandoning relationships and reinventing herself, often marrying vulnerable men, some with disabilities. She had 42 addresses in seven years.

AP constructed its profile through interviews with former husbands, relatives and acquaintances, while also drawing on county documents including divorce records and marriage licences. The records show that when she married Mr Baker, in July 2008, she was already married to Jeffrey Allred (October 1997) and Aaron Young (August 1998). She divorced Mr Young a year after marrying Mr Baker, but her marriage to Mr Allred was never dissolved.

''This is a woman who thought she could talk her way out of anything, that she was smarter than everybody else. But she never told the truth,'' Andrew Harris, her third husband, told AP. ''She hurt a lot of people.''

After a fight in early 1994, about 18 months into their marriage, Mr Harris left the house for a few days. When he returned, it had been cleaned out and Elisa was gone. She married again before divorcing Mr Harris.

A number of those interviewed described Mrs Baker as abusive.

Mr Allred said the experience had been so damaging that he never got a divorce.

Mrs Baker has been charged with obstructing justice by forging a ransom note on the night that she and Adam Baker reported Zahra missing, in October last year.

Later she led police to areas where Zahra's remains had been discarded, including a rough grave alongside a creek. Police said they believed Zahra may have died two weeks before she was reported missing. However, no one has been charged with the girl's murder.

A cancer survivor, Zahra had a prosthetic leg and wore hearing aids. She and her father moved to Hickory, about 100 kilometres north of Charlotte, after Adam Baker met Elisa on the internet.

So far, investigators have not revealed how Zahra died. Autopsy results have not been finalised.

Adam Baker, who was charged on unrelated matters, remains out of jail and on bail.

Elisa Baker's marriage trail

Sept 14, 1985: married Jerry Allen Winkler, Lenoir, North Carolina.

Jan 29, 1986: Winkler marriage annulled.

Sept 5, 1987: married Joseph Proctor, Gaffney, South Carolina.

Feb 6, 1992: divorced from Proctor.

April 17, 1992: married Andrew Harris jnr, Gaffney, SC.

Feb 4, 1995: married Darrell Putnam, Gaffney, SC.

Dec 14, 1995: divorced from Harris.

Oct 3, 1997: married Jeffrey Allred, Lenoir, NC.; never legally dissolved.

Aug 8, 1998: married Aaron Young, Gaffney, SC.

Nov 22, 1999: Putnam marriage annulled.

July 8, 2008: married Adam Baker in Australia.

Aug 21, 2009: divorced from Young.


Read more: http://www.news.com.au/world/zahras-stepmum-married-seven-times/story-e6frfkyi-1226000066098#ixzz1CzqtG7wS

Posted by Seamus O Riley at 5:30 AM
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PostSubject: Update: Elisa Baker was abusive in relationships with children, husbands   Sat Feb 05, 2011 9:43 pm

Update: Elisa Baker was abusive in relationships with children, husbands


She was married in Gaffney, SC multiple times beginning in 1987








Credit: Robert C. Reed / Hickory Daily Record
Elisa Baker appears before District Court Judge Gregory Hayes, flaned by attorneys, Jared Amos (left) and Scott Reilly.


Related

A look at the seven marriages for Elisa Baker. Sept. 14, 1985: married Jerry Allen Winkler, Lenoir, N.C. Jan. 29, 1986: Winkler marriage annulled. Sept. 5, 198 ...

A look at the seven marriages for Elisa Baker.

  • Sept. 14, 1985: married Jerry Allen Winkler, Lenoir, N.C.
  • Jan. 29, 1986: Winkler marriage annulled.
  • Sept. 5, 1987: married Joseph Proctor, Gaffney, S.C.
  • Feb. 6, 1992: divorced from Proctor.
  • April 17, 1992: married Andrew Harris Jr., Gaffney, S.C.
  • Feb. 4, 1995: married Darrell Putnam in Gaffney, S.C.
  • Dec. 14, 1995: divorced from Harris.
  • Oct. 3, 1997: married Jeffrey Allred, Lenoir, N.C.; never legally dissolved.
  • Aug. 8, 1998: married Aaron Young, Gaffney, S.C.
  • Nov. 22, 1999: Putna









By Tom Breen and Mitch Weiss | Associated Press
Published: February 03, 2011

HICKORY --

Elisa Baker, stepmother to 10-year-old Zahra, had an uncanny ability to stay ahead of bill collectors, police, social workers and her multiple husbands, The Associated Press discovered in an investigation of her.

Few saw her pattern because when she abandoned a relationship, she usually severed all ties. In seven years, she had no fewer than 42 different addresses. During a different three-year stretch, she was married to three men at the same time. All together, she was married seven times, according to an Associated Press investigation.

She was indicted last month on a bigamy charge involving her marriage to Adam Baker, Zahra’s father, and Aaron Young, but AP found documents at in half-dozen county courthouses that showed at one point she was married to three men at the same time, calling into question the single charge.

The question of bigamy is unrelated to Zahra’s death, and no one has been charged in her death, although Elisa Baker is in jail on charges of obstructing of justice because of a false ransom note she admitted to writing.

Zahra was reported missing Oct. 9, and her missing-person investigation was changed to a homicide case on Oct. 12. Her remains were found in Catawba, and Caldwell counties in November.
In interviews with three dozen people, and a review of hundreds of court and police documents, AP unraveled a life of deception described by friends, family and the vulnerable men she wed, including some with disabilities. At times, they said, she was physically abusive.
Neither Elisa Baker, 42, or her attorney, responded to repeated requests for comment. Other members of her family, including her daughters, declined to speak also.

Those who knew Elisa described an attractive high school student who became manipulative, cunning and insecure, struggling with obesity. Even as she got older and gained more weight, men were drawn to her.
At other times, she detached herself from society, immersed in the online world. There, she made herself over as E’lesa, a darkly glamorous woman whose allure reached Zahra’s father, Adam, an Australian.
"This is a woman who thought she could talk her way out of anything, that she was smarter than everybody else. But she never told the truth,’’ said Andrew Harris Jr., her third husband. ``She hurt a lot of people."

First marriage annulled after 4 months

Born Elisa Fairchild, she grew up as the middle child of three girls whose parents worked in the western North Carolina textile mills and furniture factories in the late 1960s. She was a pretty, chubby-cheeked girl with jet-black hair.
Her father doted on her while her mom was the disciplinarian. As she approached her teenage years, she began talking back, swearing at her mother, who would slap her, said Elisa’s aunt, Bonzetta Winkler.

"That was just the way people around here disciplined their children,’’ her aunt said. In school, Elisa was popular.

"We went to football games. School dances — she was a good dancer," said Jerry Allen Winkler, who dated her off and on in high school. Winkler is not related to Elisa’s aunt.

Elisa and Jerry Winkler both dropped out of school and lost touch for about a year before he ran into her at a local gas station. She was with her newborn, Amber, and told Winkler the baby’s father had left her.

Jerry Winkler asked her out, and a week later, he proposed.
Since they were both under 18, they needed their parents’ permission. They lied to Winkler’s parents and told them he was the father. To prove it, they forged a copy of a blood test.
They were married Sept. 14, 1985. Within days, Winkler was overwhelmed. "I was 17 and married with a kid. It just hit me all at once and I wanted out," he said.
Winkler’s father was upset, too, because he was tricked into giving permission. The father asked a judge to annul the marriage, which was done less than four months after it began.

Second marriage was rocky

Nearly a year later, she met Joseph Proctor, who walked with a limp from a near-fatal car accident. They dated for months, and when she told Proctor she was pregnant, he proposed.
They were married Sept. 5, 1987. She was 19; he was 28. Their son, Douglas, was born a few months later. A year later, they had their second child, Brittany.

The marriage was rocky. The couple lived in a home owned by Proctor’s mother, Levirtis White. In April 1989, White asked a judge for a restraining order, claiming Elisa was stealing and destroying property in the home.

According to the mother-in-law, Elisa said: "If I have to get out of here, I’ll burn the house down. I’m going to kill this baby. I’m going to wreck this car. I’ll kill those kids."

Two months later, the couple reconciled. Proctor’s mother dropped the complaint. Their divorce wasn’t final until 1992, but the relationship ended Christmas Day in 1990 when Elisa walked out. She gained custody of Amber and Brittany; Douglas went to live with Proctor.

‘Nothing nice about that woman’

Andrew Harris Jr. recalled the first time he spotted Elisa, nursing a Jack Daniels at a little honky-tonk in Lincolnton.

He had just walked into the Tri-County Bar after another long shift at the J.P. Stevens textile plant. She waved at him.
"We just hit it off," he said. "She was easy to talk to." They married a few months later on April 17, 1992.
Soon her personality changed. She was often angry, and she took it out on her daughters, Harris said. She yelled and hit them, he said.
"I’d say to her, ‘Why do you have them in their rooms again?’ She’d just start mumbling about how she didn’t want to deal with them. The truth is she treated them like dirt,’’ he said.
After a fight in early 1994, Harris left the house for a few days. When he returned, it was empty. No furniture, guns or fishing rods.
"There was nothing nice about that woman," he said.

She was abusive to her children

In the fall of 1994, a neighbor told Darrell Putnam she had found the perfect woman for him. Putnam was 30 and had been deaf nearly his entire life. He can understand speech with his hearing aids on, but his disability made it difficult for him to find dates, said his mother, Margie Putnam.

Elisa and Darrell Putnam went to a bar. She told him about her girls, but lied and said 8-year-old Amber had cancer.
Within weeks, they moved in together. About this time, Elisa’s mother died of cancer, and she had ballooned to more than 300 pounds.


"I wouldn’t see her for days," Darrell Putnam said, at times using sign language as his mother interpreted. "She would go out and get drunk and carry on. She was never home."

Worse, when she was there, she would "smack around" her children, Darrell Putnam said. They married Feb. 4, 1995, but their relationship quickly disintegrated.

One day after work, Putnam found her in bed with another man. He walked to his mother’s house, and returned a few days later. Everything was gone, including his expensive hearing aids.

"All he wanted was a family," Margie Putnam said. "He loved those girls. He stayed with her because of those girls. But in the end she broke his heart. She was pure evil."

She beat this husband
Jeffrey Allred remembers, with a shudder, the last time he saw her in the spring of 1998.
She had put her daughters in the car and headed to Walmart for groceries. When the tail lights receded in the night, he pulled a packed suitcase from a bedroom closet, jumped in his truck and headed in the opposite direction.
"I just couldn’t take the abuse anymore," said the 6-foot-2 Allred, who weighs 260 pounds.
He said she beat him with a baseball bat and threw rocks at him. He was so spooked that he never divorced her; he was too afraid he might see her in court.
The relationship didn’t start out that way. There were nights when they would drive around the upscale neighborhoods of Hickory, and she would tell him her dream was to live in one of the grand houses.
They married Oct. 3, 1997, then she changed. "It was like a light switch went off and she said: ‘I got him now,"' he said.

Elisa’s life on the Internet

Aaron Young, who met Elisa while she was married to Allred, picked up the pieces. It was the first time a woman had paid attention to him.

As a child, he had rickets, a bone disease often caused by poor nutrition that can cause skeletal deformities. He had several operations on his left leg, and there was a steel rod in the other, a condition that made him self-conscious and shy.
The couple were married Aug. 8, 1998. She was 30; he was 20.

"He was a very responsible kid,’’ said Young’s brother, James. "When he married her, he grew up overnight. He took being married seriously and was a stable influence in those kids’ lives."

It was during their marriage that Elisa discovered the Internet. She would spend long hours in front of a computer.
She got tattoos and changed her hair color from blonde to black with fire-engine-red streaks. Aaron Young’s mother spotted her kissing another man in a car in 2007, and her sixth marriage ended.

In early 2008, Elisa said she was headed to Australia and she wouldn’t be returning.

"We thought she was making that stuff up, just like she always did,’’ James Young said. ``I guess we were wrong.’’

By this time, she had left a string of eviction notices, small claims judgments and liens against her from landlords, utility companies and other bill collectors, according to court documents.

Life with Adam and Zahra
The first time Adam Baker saw his future wife in person was at the airport. They had met through Instant Messaging Virtual Universe, a website where users create three-dimensional characters to represent themselves, using the avatars to interact in a virtual world.
He was 33; she was 40. The couple lived with Adam Baker’s mother in Giru, in the southern part of Australia. But his friends and family had their doubts.

"Her stories seemed very outrageous. We kept wondering: What is she doing here?’’ said Kim Wright, a family friend.

Wright had become something of a surrogate mother to Zahra, whose biological mother left when she was a baby.
They were married in his family’s backyard July 8, 2008. A few months later, Adam Baker told his mother he was moving to the U.S.

His family was worried. In Australia, Zahra’s medical treatments were free. But Adam Baker told his friends and family Elisa Baker had money and would take care of the bills, Wright said. By now, Zahra was using a prosthetic leg and chemotherapy left her partially deaf, forcing her to use hearing aids.

When the couple returned to North Carolina, they moved in with her father, but he quickly kicked them out, presumably over the treatment of Zahra.

Family members and neighbors recalled Elisa Baker hitting Zahra and locking her in her room. Social service agencies in seven counties investigated abuse allegations, but the agency has said they are prohibited by law to discuss the cases.

In September, the couple moved into a house in Hickory. On Oct. 9, they reported Zahra missing. About a month later, Zahra’s prosthetic leg was found. Then her remains, in locations 5 miles apart in Caldwell County.
"She was always looking for attention,’’ said Allred, her fifth husband. "She always wanted to be known, to be famous. Well, I guess she got what she was looking for after all."
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PostSubject: Civic Club Announces Plans For Playground In Zahra's Honor   Tue Feb 15, 2011 3:44 am

Civic Club Announces Plans For Playground In Zahra’s Honor


Posted: 3:49 pm EST February 14, 2011




Updated: 4:16 pm EST February 14, 2011

HICKORY, N.C. -- Kiwanis Clubs across Catawba County are working together to honor 10-year-old Zahra Baker, whose remains were found in November.

The civic organization announced plans Monday to raise money to build a playground at the Kiwanis Park in Hickory. A design of the playground equipment, which will be handicap accessible, was unveiled during the announcement.

The Kiwanis members are hoping to raise $85,000 for the project by June 30.

“We're standing at the base of the mountain looking up, but we're excited about this and bringing some closure to this community,” President Lanny Huffman said.

Donations for the project can be sent to:
Kiwanis Playground Fund for Zahra
P.O. Box 9572
Hickory, NC 28603
Copyright 2011 by WSOCTV.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published
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PostSubject: In interview, Zahra Baker's father denies wrongdoing   Mon Feb 21, 2011 10:05 am


In interview, Zahra Baker's father denies wrongdoing


By Cleve R. Wootson Jr.
cwootson@charlotteobserver.com
Posted: Monday, Feb. 21, 2011


Slideshow
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  • Baker


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More Information






Zahra Baker's father denied in a televised interview Sunday night that he was involved with his daughter's death.
Adam Baker disputed his wife Elisa Baker's claim that he dismembered his daughter's body, saying "That's the biggest lie she's ever told," according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
He also said he feared his wife, whom he calls Lisa, was hurting Zahra after he noticed the girl had a black eye.
"I asked both Lisa and Zahra how that happened. Lisa started out saying Zahra slipped in the bathroom, hitting her head on the cabinet. Zahra backed that up. I think she was told to - she was scared."
The interview aired on the Australian version of "60 Minutes" on Sunday night. Zahra and Adam Baker lived in Australia before he married Elisa in 2009 and moved to Hickory.
Zahra Baker, who was hearing-impaired and walked with the help of a prosthesis after losing her left leg to cancer, was reported missing on Oct.9 by her father in a call to police.
Since then, speculation has focused on what role, if any, Zahra's stepmother Elisa and Adam Baker might have played in the girl's fate. Both have denied wrongdoing in the case.
More than a month after she was reported missing, police said they had credible evidence that Zahra was dead and had unearthed remains of a child they believe was Zahra.
In interviews with investigators, Elisa Baker said Zahra Baker's body was dismembered and the remains hidden across several rural locations, according to court documents.
Cleve R. Wootson Jr.: 704-358-5046


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PostSubject: Elisa Baker indicted on second-degree murder charge   Mon Feb 21, 2011 1:58 pm

Elisa Baker indicted on second-degree murder charge

Credit: Robert C. Reed / Hickory Daily Record




Elisa Baker appears before District Court Judge Gregory Hayes, flanked by attorneys Jared Amos (left) and Scott Reilly.










  • Elisa Baker appears before District Court Judge Gregory Hayes, flanked by attorneys Jared Amos (left) and Scott Reilly. Credit: Robert C. Reed / Hickory Daily Record



By Sarah Newell williamson
Published: February 21, 2011



Elisa Baker was indicted Monday by a grand jury for second-degree murder with aggravating factors in the death of Zahra Clare Baker.
According to the indictment, there were numerous aggravating factors in the death of Zahra. Those factors included Baker having a history and pattern of physical, verbal and psychological abuse of the victim. She also “secreted the victim from family and others prior to and after the offense, delaying detection of the offense;” and that she “desecrated the victim’s body to hinder detection” investigation and prosecution of the offense.
With regard to Zahra’s death, the jurors listed a North Carolina statute stating the victim, “was very young, physically infirm, or handicap.” The indictment said Baker also “took advantage of a position of trust or confidence, including a domestic relationship, to commit the offense.”
District Attorney Jay Gaither declined to comment on the indictment, referring all comments to a 3 p.m. press conference today.
Baker, 42, has already been indicted on one count each of obstruction of justice and bigamy.
According to search warrants, Zahra was likely killed on Sept. 24 and her body disposed of on Sept. 25. Zahra, a two-time cancer survivor, was reported missing by her father, Adam, on Oct. 9. On Oct. 12, the Amber Alert that was issued was canceled and the case was changed to a homicide investigation.
Elisa and Adam have been arrested for several charges unrelated to the case. Adam has bonded out of jail.
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PostSubject: Zahra Baker autopsy may be complete   Mon Feb 21, 2011 2:14 pm

Zahra Baker autopsy may be complete








Credit: Photos from Facebook
Photo of Zahra from Facebook.


By Sarah Newell williamson
Published: February 21, 2011

HICKORY --
The status of Zahra Baker’s autopsy is unclear.

Physician’s assistant Eddie Pippen, who works as a medical examiner at Piedmont Pathology, said he learned of 10-year-old Zahra Baker’s autopsy two weeks ago. Zahra’s remains were sent to the N.C. Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

“I don’t have a copy, but I spoke with chief medical examiner, and they made me aware that it was complete,” Pippen said.

He said this was about two weeks ago. Pippen referred information relating to the report to the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office in Chapel Hill.

Sharon Artis, the case management supervisor for the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office, said a portion of the autopsy report was complete. However, she said the office does not send out incomplete reports. Artis would not reveal which portions of the report were completed.

Some of Zahra’s remains were found on Dudley Shoals Road in Caldwell County on Nov. 11, near Gunpowder Creek. Investigators had also found a bone of Zahra’s and her prosthetic leg on Christie Road, just a few miles away, just a few weeks before.

Zahra lost part of her left leg and some of her hearing to cancer. She was first reported missing by her father, Adam, on Oct. 9. On Oct. 12, the Amber Alert that was issued was canceled and the case was changed to a homicide investigation.

Zahra was likely killed on Sept. 24 and her body disposed of the following day, according to search warrants. She was not reported missing until about two weeks later.

Her stepmother, Elisa, has been indicted on one count of felony obstruction of justice and for bigamy. She has also been arrested on several other charges unrelated to Zahra’s disappearance. Adam was arrested as well, for several charges unrelated to the case. He has since bonded out of jail.
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PostSubject: Elisa Baker's Indictment .........pdf file   Mon Feb 21, 2011 2:20 pm

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PostSubject: Elisa Baker Indicted in Zahra's Death - Statement Analysis   Mon Feb 21, 2011 4:34 pm

Monday, February 21, 2011


Elisa Baker Indicted in Zahra's Death





see analysis of Adam Baker's 911 call as the conclusion of the analysis is the caller had guilty knowlege and was deceptive while calling.

HICKORY, N.C. -- The stepmother of a 10-year-old disabled Australian girl was indicted Monday on charges she killed the freckle-faced child and then desecrated her remains to cover up the slaying, according to court documents.

A grand jury in Catawba County charged Elisa Baker with second-degree murder in the death of Zahra Baker. Authorities planned to discuss the case at a news conference later in the day.

Zahra, who used a prosthetic leg and hearing aids after being stricken with cancer, disappeared four months ago. No one had been charged in her death, though Elisa Baker had been charged with obstructing justice in the investigation. Police eventually found the girl's remains in different locations around western North Carolina. Authorities still have not said how the girl died.

The indictment cites aggravating factors, saying Elisa Baker had a history of physically, verbally and psychologically abusing Zahra. And it says she desecrated Zahra's body to hinder detection and prosecution of the killing.

A search warrant unsealed last month said Elisa Baker led police to the places where they found Zahra's remains. She claimed her husband, Adam Baker, dismembered the body. Adam Baker has denied that.

The warrant also said that cell phone records indicate Adam Baker was not in the locations where Zahra's remains were found on the day Elisa Baker indicated, but that cell phone records showed she was present in those locations.

Attorneys for Elisa Baker did not return calls seeking comment Monday.

Records show the 42-year-old led a somewhat nomadic life, with dozens of different addresses over a seven-year period. She was also married seven times and was wed to more than one man on several occasions. She met Adam Baker, seven years her junior, on a website where users create three-dimensional characters to represent themselves.

Adam Baker is free on bond, facing numerous charges not related to his daughter, who needed a prosthetic leg and two hearing aids because of a battle with cancer. He moved to North Carolina with Zahra from Australia after meeting Elisa online.

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PostSubject: Elisa Baker could face 8 to 30 years in prison   Mon Feb 21, 2011 4:46 pm


Elisa Baker could face 8 to 30 years in prison


By Gary L. Wright and Franco Ordonez
gwright@charlotteobserver.com; fordonez@charlotteobserver.com
Posted: Monday, Feb. 21, 2011


10/13/2010 - Elisa Baker, stepmother of Zahra Baker, appears before District Court Judge Gregory Hayes on an obstruction of justice charge. (AP Photo/The Daily Record, Robert C. Reed)






HICKORY -- Until Monday afternoon, no one had been charged in the death four months earlier of 10-year-old Zahra Baker.
The delay worried those who wanted someone held accountable.
They feared the lack of criminal charges might signal problems with the case. And the bizarre circumstances surrounding the girl's death led some friends, family, even area prosecutors to wonder: Can there be justice for Zahra?
Those questions were answered Monday, when a grand jury returned a second-degree murder indictment against Elisa Baker, Zahra's stepmother.
According to prosecutors, the second-degree murder charge carries a potential prison term of 8 to 30 years, depending on the criminal record of the person who was charged.
In late January, Hickory police turned over the majority of their investigation to the D.A. At that time, Zahra's autopsy was not complete, but the file was stuffed with recorded interviews, reports and detailed backgrounds on Zahra, her parents and other relatives.
"I've been doing this 26 years, and I've never seen a case file this big," says Hickory police Major Clyde Deal. "That poor little girl went through things that no 10-year-old should go through."
Zahra's smiling face, broadcast in photos worldwide, has captured hearts from her Hickory home to places far beyond. Her story of surviving cancer, losing a leg, living with a hearing impairment and yet somehow remaining upbeat, has endeared her to people.
"Taking it slowly and cautiously is the right thing to do," says former Mecklenburg prosecutor Steve Ward. "Prosecutors have to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If they can't do that, there will be an acquittal."
Prosecuting anyone for killing Zahra won't be easy.
The girl's remains lay out in heat and rain for weeks, and only parts of her body were recovered. Finding a definitive cause for her death may be impossible, say experts, which would make it hard - but not impossible - to prove a killing took place.
Zahra's stepmother Elisa Baker says she found the girl dead after an illness on Sept. 24 - two weeks before the girl was reported missing and a month before any remains were found.
Elisa Baker says her husband, Adam Baker, dismembered his daughter's body, and that the couple disposed of it in various locations on Sept. 25.
Court documents don't say why the pair would do such a thing.
Relatives suggest the Bakers feared authorities because Elisa Baker, 42, had been under scrutiny by the Department of Social Services, and Adam Baker, 33, is in the country illegally from his native Australia.
But prosecutors in the Charlotte region are skeptical of those explanations.
"Dismembering the body is not what someone does to a loved one when they die of natural causes," says Ward.
More likely, he says, such desperate measures are an attempt to cover up a crime - and could help persuade a jury to support a murder conviction.
UNC Charlotte's criminal justice chair Beth Bjerregaard says: "Not knowing the cause of death is a stumbling block, but it's not insurmountable. Prosecutors will have to use circumstantial evidence. In this case, that would include what was done to Zahra's body after her death."
Even if a child dies naturally from illness, prosecutors say, juries have found parents guilty of manslaughter if they failed to seek proper medical treatment.
"Parents have an obligation to take their children to a doctor when they're sick," Ward says. "If they don't, they are recklessly disregarding the child's well being. Parents just can't let a sick child die."
Focus on Elisa Baker's role
Court documents suggest investigators remain focused on what role, if any, Elisa Baker played in Zahra's death. They have gathered a multitude of records from her life - from phone records; to DSS reports on her history with her biological children, as well as with Zahra; to medical records from nine locations including a state psychiatric hospital. Police have also studied Elisa Baker's relationships with an ex-husband and his cousins, and what interactions those men may have had with Zahra.
Adam Baker's explanation of events is less clear than his wife's.
He has denied wrongdoing, and police say a GPS device in Adam Baker's phone suggests he was not in the areas where Zahra's body was dumped.
Adam Baker called 911 on Oct. 9 to report his daughter missing.
He told the dispatcher in the 2 p.m. phone call: "We checked (on Zahra) last night about 2:30 and she was there."
He went on to say his daughter might have been kidnapped.
He then explained with a chuckle why he hadn't seen Zahra in nearly 12 hours: "My daughter is I think coming into puberty so she's hitting that brooding stage. So we only see her when she comes out when she wants something."
But as investigators plunged in, Adam Baker's story changed. Police say he told investigators later on Oct. 9 that he hadn't seen Zahra since Wednesday, three days earlier.
It remains unclear whether Adam Baker knew his daughter had been missing for days or possibly weeks - or whether he believed she was somewhere safe. He has declined to discuss the case.
Investigators almost immediately ruled out the Bakers' initial story that Zahra must have been snatched by unwitting kidnappers who had intended to abduct the child of Adam Baker's boss. He owns the Hickory house the Bakers were renting, so maybe - the Bakers suggested - confused kidnappers accidentally took Zahra.
But just one day after Zahra was reported missing, police jailed Elisa Baker on a charge of obstructing justice, saying she'd admitted writing a phony ransom note that claimed a kidnapping had taken place.
Area prosecutors say a phony ransom note would almost certainly be used at trial to suggest the author was covering up something.
Other circumstantial material might include any evidence that Elisa Baker abused Zahra or her biological children.
DSS has refused to discuss what social workers did - or failed to do - to protect Zahra. But an attorney for Elisa Baker has said that DSS investigated allegations but did not substantiate that abuse took place.
If prosecutors decide such evidence is persuasive, they'd probably find it difficult to introduce historical behavior in a trial. Judges often fear so-called "bad acts" from someone's past can unfairly influence a jury and distract them from focusing on evidence of the crime at hand.
High-profile case for Gaither
The case of Zahra Baker - the little Australian girl who moved to America with her dad - now rests with District Attorney James Gaither Jr. for possible action.
The Hickory lawyer beginning his third term as District Attorney has never had such a high-profile case.
In a written statement, he offers no hint that Zahra's case is any different from others.
"In every case we seek justice for the victims of crime and the community...," he says. "In determining what charges are appropriate we are guided exclusively by the evidence, the law and our duty to seek justice."
But area prosecutors agree Gaither must feel heat to punish someone.
Gaither was quick to challenge a TV report in December that he'd signed a deal with Elisa Baker, removing the death penalty and first-degree murder charges as possible punishment in exchange for her help recovering Zahra's body.
Gaither won't say whether any deal was signed but he insisted "if there is sufficient and credible evidence to prove that Elisa Baker was involved in the death of Zahra Baker, the State is under no obligation to limit charges."
A first-degree murder conviction carries life in prison without parole - or possibly the death penalty.
Second-degree murder is punishable by prison time ranging from about eight years to more than 30 years, depending on akiller's criminal record.
Prison time for manslaughter also depends on past convictions, and ranges from 10 months to four years.
If Gaither decides he can't prove that Zahra was killed, he might be left only to seek lesser charges in the case.
Elisa Baker already faces the obstruction charge, and was recently charged with bigamy: Police say she married Adam Baker in 2008, a year before divorcing her previous husband. Concealing a death is also a crime in North Carolina.
Convictions for all those crimes would probably result in about a year's prison time - or possibly probation - for someone with a minor criminal record, like Elisa Baker. She has long-ago convictions for assault and worthless checks, and both she and her husband face pending charges of communicating threats, worthless checks and failing to return rental property.
Police Major Deal isn't shy about describing Zahra's case as extraordinary.
His department has thrown all available resources into investigating leads and gathering evidence. "Everyone is committed to doing the best job they can," he says.
Hickory Mayor Rudy Wright applauds the painstaking approach.
"People here are being patient," he says. "They understand the need to make sure the charges are right.
"But people are frustrated that we have not been able to solve the case as yet.
"They want the case solved. If the case can be solved, we want charges. ... We want to be able to say justice has been served."
Staff Writers Liz Chandler and Steve Lyttle and researcher Maria David contributed.


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PostSubject: Elisa Baker Desecrated Zahra   Mon Feb 21, 2011 6:56 pm

Monday, February 21, 2011


Elisa Baker Desecrated Zahra




Elisa Baker is sole suspect as murder indictment says she 'desecrated' Zahra's body

Baker is sole suspect as murder indictment says she 'desecrated' Zahra's

WBTV reporter Steve Ohnesorge interviewed the father of Zahra Baker Monday – just hours after his wife, Elisa Baker, was indicted in the 10-year-old girl's death.


CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Elisa Baker is the sole suspect in the death of her stepdaughter officials said on the same day as a Catawba County grand jury indicted the woman in the death and dismemberment of the 10-year-old girl last year.

Elisa Baker, the stepmother of Zahra Baker, was indicted for second-degree murder on Monday morning, just as Adam Baker broke his silence this weekend to the Australian media and an international audience.


Meanwhile, the state medical examiner's autopsy report was released regarding the girl's death, which was classified as "Undetermined - homicidal violence."

Hours after the indictment, officials held a press conference and talked about the indictment and the case.

Related story: Just who IS Elisa Baker?

"At this time the state has no credible evidence to suggest that anyone other than Elisa Baker was involved in the murder of Zahra Clare Baker," said Jay Gaither, prosecutor for the 25th District, which includes Catawba County, during a press conference Monday afternoon.

Elisa Baker's indictment also included "aggravating factors," which indicates a history and pattern of physical, verbal and psychological abuse the victim, according to Al Jean Bogle, Clerk of Catawba County Court.

The indictment from the grand jury also said that Elisa Baker "desecrated the victim's body to hinder detection..." Zahra's body was dismembered after her death -- and her remains have been found in at least 2 places, police say.

Full coverage of the Zahra Baker case

The bond for Elisa Baker was immediately increased by $200,000 as the charge was added to the Catawba County jail website, bringing Elisa Baker's total bond to $307,700 on 17 different charges.

Elisa Baker has lead police to the remains of Zahra, which were found in different areas. She also told police that Zahra's body was disposed after she died of "illness," according to court documents.

On Monday, the Caldwell County Dept. of Social Services released information on the Zahra case, stating that their file on her began in Jan. 2010 and the last entry was in July -- about 2 months before she died -- when the family moved to Hickory. (Click here for the Caldwell Co. DSS summary of service)

On Sunday evening, Adam Baker spoke to 60 Minutes Australia about the death of his daughter, Zahra. Elisa Baker was already facing charges involving a fake ransom note.

Related: Adam Baker talks to WBTV

60 Minutes Australia is a current affairs program which is based on the CBS version in the United States with the same name.

Adam and Zahra were from Australia and they moved to Hickory about two years ago.

"Zahra had been my life you know, and now she's gone," said Adam Baker, who has not been charged in the case. "I don't know what to do. I feel very, very empty."

In October of 2010, Adam called 911 and reported Zahra missing.

Police say shortly thereafter, Adam's wife, Elisa, admitted to writing a fake ransom note. She was jailed on unrelated charged. Eventually, Elisa led investigators to Zahra's scattered remains.

Court documents show Elisa told police she and Adam chopped up Zahra and dumped her remains after the young girl died from an illness.

In the 60 Minutes interview, Adam Baker said, "That's the biggest lie she ever told."

Elisa remains in jail, but no one has been charged with the girl's murder at this time.

Adam told 60 Minutes, it is difficult for him to be here in the U.S. where people think he is a murderer.

When asked about his alleged involvement in her death, Adam said he had no part in any of it, and that he didn't feel there was a case against him.

"I had no part in my daughter's death or dismemberment," he said.

Adam also said he believes Elisa did play some role in Zahra's death and disappearance, and he believes she would still be alive today if he had never brought Elisa into their lives.

Once the trial is over, Adam said he plans to take Zahra's remains back to Australia and try to move on with what is left of his life.

Because of ongoing legal issues here in the United States, WBTV is not able to provide a full transcript, or the full video, of the interview.

Posted by Seamus O Riley at 1:29 PM
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PostSubject: Zahra Baker autopsy report released   Mon Feb 21, 2011 10:26 pm

Zahra Baker autopsy report released


Ten-year-old died from undetermined homicidal violence







Hickory police say this is their most recent photo of Zahra Baker.


Related









By Sarah Newell williamson
Published: February 21, 2011
Updated: February 21, 2011 - 6:16 PM

CHAPEL HILL --

Ten-year-old Zahra Clare Baker died as the cause of undetermined homicidal violence.

The N.C. office of the Chief Medical Examiner released Zahra Baker's autopsy results late Monday. Her body was identified through DNA obtained through Zahra’s toothbrush. A DNA profile had also been comprised from Adam Baker and Zahra’s biological mother, Emily Dietrich.

Under the notes section, the medical examiner states, “This is a 10-year-old white female reported missing Oct. 9, 2010. Humeral bone was found 10-26-10 off Christy Rd. in Caldwell County. LE (law enforcement) report death possibly occurred 9-24-10 in Catawba County. The remainder of body (except skull) found in Caldwell County days later at different sites. The head has yet to be recovered. Hickory PD, NCSBI, FBI invest. Body sent to OCME for autopsy.”

Other body parts the Medical Examiner’s office did not receive include all of her left leg — although she did have a prosthetic for her lower leg — her lower left arm and hand, all of Zahra’s right arm and hand, her lower right leg and foot, first right rib, the first through fourth cervical vertebrae and sternum.

Elisa Baker, stepmother of Zahra Baker, 10, was charged with second-degree murder in Zahra’s death Monday. Zahra was reported missing Oct. 9, and her disappearance was changed to a homicide investigation on Oct. 12. Search warrants reveal that Zahra was likely killed on Sept. 24 and her body disposed of on Sept. 25. In the warrants, Elisa conveyed through her attorneys that Zahra had been dismembered with her remains scattered throughout Catawba and Caldwell counties.

“Several of the bones exhibit cutting tool marks that are consistent with dismemberment,” the autopsy summary states. “The marks grossly appear to result from the use of at least two different cutting instruments.”

The autopsy results state the partial skeletal remains have tool marks in the vertebrae, right femur and left clavicle, and that there were rib fractures.

According to the report, the injuries show that Zahra was dismembered after she died. Her fifth cervical vertebra, which is near the upper portion of the spine, shows two distinct cut marks.

There is also a cut mark on the left collar bone. There are about 11 cuts marks on the right femur, which is the upper leg bone. The cuts range from 9 mm to 22 mm. The report states the end of the bone is partially cut through and then fractured.

In addition, the right fifth rib has a 22 mm bone spur, and the fifth and sixth ribs on the right side were broken at one point and have healed. The autopsy report states this may have happened during a surgical procedure. There are also signs of healing from fractures on two other ribs on the right side.

The report states the condition of the body was decomposed and skeletonized, and there is a cross through the remaining portion of the list, which includes height, weight, eye color, upper and lower teeth type and clothing and valuables. It states there are also marks where animals scavenged at some of the bones.

The Chief Medical Examiner's office received a bone from Zahra’s left arm on Nov. 4. The bone was found on Christie Road in Caldwell County. After the medical examiner’s office took measurements and photos, the Hickory Police Department took it to the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation crime lab for DNA analysis and identification, before it was returned to the Medical Examiner’s office on Dec. 17.

They received partial skeletal remains of Zahra on Nov. 10. The remains were recovered on Dudley Shoals Road in Caldwell County. One of the bones from the remains was taken to the SBI crime lab on Nov. 17 for DNA analysis and identification.
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PostSubject: Zahra Baker Update: Autopsy Report In   Mon Feb 21, 2011 11:16 pm

Zahra Baker Update: Autopsy Report In




Zahra Baker

Today Zahra Baker’s name hit the news again after an indictment was handed down for second degree murder against Zahra’s step-mother Elisa Baker. Baker has been in jail since October, the day after her husband, Zahra’s father, Adam Baker called and reported the child missing.
When the little Australian girl was found her body parts were scattered in different areas. The child had been dismembered. The police searched for all the parts they could find but unfortunately they did not locate all the bones. Missing also among the body was her little head. Where is this little girl’s head?
The parts that were located were sent to the medical examiner for an autopsy to see if they could declare a cause of death. Today the autopsy report was released and it says the cause of death was undetermined homicidal violence. The report shows that many of the bones were not present for the autopsy but mainly the head was not there. Several of the bones show cutting tool marks consistent with dismemberment.

This is so hard to write. To think about what this sweet little innocent child went through when she was killed just tears my insides out. How can anyone do this? I will be the first to admit that all children at one time or another throw temper tantrums. What I can’t imagine though is any child being so bad that they would deserve this. Zahra fought for her life when she had the cancer. She adjusted to having only one leg. She didn’t let that stop her, and yet she still kept that smile on her face. So what if they might claim it wasn’t like that at home. There is nothing I can think of that this little girl could have done to cause a parent to do this to them. I pray that if Elisa Baker is indeed guilty of this that she gets the maximum punishment by law for it. Zahra deserved better.
God bless her little heart as she looks down from heaven. I bet she is still smiling even after what she has been through.
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PostSubject: Zahra Baker - Stepmom Charged With Murder   Tue Feb 22, 2011 10:25 am

Zahra Baker – Stepmom Charged With Murder

02/22/2011 donchais Leave a comment


Yesterday, Elisa Baker was charged with second degree murder in the death of Zahra Baker.
The pretty, freckled-faced Australian girl, known for her bubbly personality and wide smile, was reported missing in October which led to the obstruction charges against Elisa Baker.
District Attorney James Gaither and Hickory Police Chief Tom Adkins announced Elisa Baker is facing second degree murder charges in the death of her 10-year-old stepdaughter, Zahra.
Investigators believe Zahra was killed September 24th and that there were five “aggravating factors,” the judge can take into account during sentencing. District Attorney James Gaither said Elisa Baker had a history and pattern of physical, verbal and psychological abuse of the victim, Zahra Baker.
“The defendant took advantage of a position of trust or confidence including a domestic relationship, to commit the offense,” the indictment charged, according to CNN.
The public has asked repeatedly why it has taken so long for someone to be charged with Zahra’s death. Zahra’s severed head and other bones have never been located which may be the cause of the delay in charges.
Adam Baker was on Australia’s 60 Minutes over the weekend, proclaiming his innocence and saying that Elisa’s claim that he dismembered Zahra’s body was the biggest lie Elisa Baker had ever told.
Adam Baker is not presently facing charges in his daughter’s murder. Gaither said, “At this time, the state has no credible evidence to suggest that anyone other than Elisa Baker was involved in the murder of Zahra Clare Baker.”
Adam Baker, said he was happy his daughter was finally getting the justice she deserved and that he was manipulated by his wife.
Baker spoke with WBTV and said, “Elisa is very manipulative, um, abusive…to me. Very controlling. Plus with work, I was gone first thing in the morning and didn’t get home til late. Um, was told that Zahra was in bed because Zahra normally went to bed early. I checked every night and from what I could tell she was in bed. It looked like she, something was in bed.”
Elisa Baker told police that it was her husband who cut up the girl’s body before disposing it in several locations around the couple’s home, court documents showed.
He has always denied those accusations and police said there was no evidence to suggest Elisa was telling the truth.
Police Chief Tom Adkins left the door open for additional charges by saying, “Not every case is clear-cut and only the facts and evidence of the case can dictate who is charged and for what offenses. We will continue our investigation and follow every lead until the first day of trial.”
What the future holds for Adam Baker is hard to say, but at the very least – in my opinion – he is guilty of child neglect!
Fox Charlotte

NY Daily News
CNN
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PostSubject: Neighbors Upset With 2nd Degree Murder Charge For Elisa Baker   Tue Feb 22, 2011 10:41 am

Neighbors Upset With 2nd-Degree Murder Charge



Neighbors Of Zahra Baker are upset by the second-degree murder charge for Elisa Baker.


Posted: 5:01 pm EST February 21, 2011
Updated: 6:42 am EST February 22, 2011

HICKORY, N.C. -- The home where Zahra lived with her father Adam and stepmother Elisa Baker is boarded up, but the wounds left behind by her death are still very open.
Four months into the investigation, Elisa Baker is being charged with murder but neighbors Channel 9 talked to are not satisfied.
Hickory Police Chief Tom Adkins said Monday, the second-degree murder charge against Elisa Baker in the death of Zahra is a milestone in the investigation.
Still, some in the community like Eddie Mitchell don't feel the charge is strong enough. Mitchell lives across the street from the Baker home in Hickory and attended Monday’s news conference to hear the charge firsthand.
“I feel I don’t know all exactly the details, but I think it should be first degree murder,” said Mitchell.
Residents had a similar reaction a few miles away at Jesse’s Diner.
Clara Mathe has followed the case since the beginning and said she believes Zahra's father Adam Baker should also be held responsible for her death.
“There are many details about the case we in Hickory are just assuming--things we don't know, all the details--but we're appalled at what happened,” Mathe said.
While neighbors in Hickory wait to see how this murder charge will play out in court, Mitchell said he's not sure any punishment that may be handed down will be enough to bring justice for Zahra.
Elisa Baker will make her first court appearance since the charges were announced Friday.
Copyright 2011 by WSOCTV.com
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PostSubject: Adam Baker talks to WBTV, says Elisa was 'manipulative'   Tue Feb 22, 2011 3:15 pm

Adam Baker talks to WBTV, says Elisa was 'manipulative'


Posted:
Feb 21, 2011 5:32 PM EST




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WEB EXTRA: EXCLUSIVE: Full interview with Adam Baker

6:35

Autopsy report released in Zahra's death

3:04


Adam Baker reacts to charges against wife

3:37


Adam Baker during Monday's interview.
Adam Baker and Elisa Baker at their wedding and later at one of their homes. (Source: Facebook and MySpace) Click image to enlarge



HICKORY, NC (WBTV) - Adam Baker spoke exclusively with WBTV on Monday just hours after his wife was indicted for the death of his daughter.

Baker says he is relieved there will be justice for Zahra. He has said all along that he had nothing to do with Zahra's death or dismemberment.

Related: Full coverage of the Zahra Baker case

Baker said he didn't know it was going on because Elisa Baker hid the truth from him.

Related: Autopsy report released (Warning: Graphic content)

Monday afternoon, he and his mother heard the news and they were jumping up and down, they were very happy and hugging their attorneys and shaking hands, but all that was tempered by the fact that 10-year-old Zahra is gone.

We asked why he wasn't charged and he said he was manipulated.

"Elisa is very manipulative, um, abusive…to me," Adam Baker said. "Very controlling. Plus with work, I was gone first thing in the morning and didn't get home til late. Um, was told that Zahra was in bed because Zahra normally went to bed early. I checked every night and from what I could tell she was in bed. It looked like she, something was in bed."

He says he will stay in the country as long as he needs to until the case is over. He eventually wants to go back to Australia with Zahra's remains.

Copyright 2011 WBTV. All rights reserved.
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