Entries in Hickory (6)


Scottish Deerhound Takes Top Prize at Westminster Kennel Club Show

Photo Courtesy - Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A black haired Scottish deerhound named Hickory clinched the top prize Tuesday night at the second-longest running sports event in U.S. -- the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

The 5-year-old, 85 pound pooch was named best in show after beating out several other dogs from top breeds including a Portuguese water dog, smooth fox terrier and black cocker spaniel in the final round.

Hickory is the first Scottish deerhound to win the club's top dog title along with a long purple and gold ribbon and silver trophy.

Compared to golden retrievers and labradors, it's a breed not many people are accustomed to seeing in the U.S.

"Sure, not your common golden retriever…she loves unconditional no matter what, it's really hard to describe this dog, there are really no words for her," handler Angela Lloyd told ABC News after Hickory's win.

Bred for hunting, Scottish deerhounds are also the royal dog of Scotland.

More than 2,500 dogs from 179 breeds, including six new breeds, competed in the two-day event held at Madison Square Garden in New York.

This year's competition was an open field, with no clear favorite.  The 2010 best in show winner, Sadie the Scottie terrier, retired.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Zahra Baker Case: Cops Confirm Artificial Leg Belonged to Missing Girl

Photo Courtesy - ABC News (HICKORY, NC) -- The stepmother of the missing girl Zahra Baker appeared in court Monday as police confirmed that a prosthetic leg found last week belonged to the disabled 10-year-old, who disappeared at the end of summer.

Elisa Baker was driven to court in Burke County, NC, Monday in handcuffs and an orange jail jumpsuit for a probable cause hearing on a larceny charge that is unrelated to Zahra's disappearance.

Baker, 42, has been charged with several crimes unrelated to the investigation into Zahra's case. In addition, the stepmother is charged with obstruction of justice for writing a false ransom note before Zahra was reported missing.

Her appearance in court gave observers a rare view of the woman who kept publicly silent since Zahra vanished. Despite her public silence, police have said she appears to be cooperating with the investigation.

The 10-year-old girl was reported missing October 9th, but authorities have said they do not believe she is alive. The most recent sighting of the girl was at a furniture store on September 25th.

The only evidence of the girl uncovered so far is a prosthetic leg found close to where Elisa Baker used to live. Monday police said the leg was confirmed to have been Zahra's leg. The Hickory, NC, police said a scanner was used to extract the serial number from a transponder placed inside the prosthesis.

Earlier, police had obtained the identifying number for Zahra's leg from Australia where the leg was originally fitted. The two numbers matched.

Zahra lost her left leg along with most of her hearing in a battle with bone cancer.

Since the girl vanished, her father Adam Baker, 33, has also been arrested. He was charged with passing bad checks and assault with a deadly weapon, charges unrelated to her disappearance. Adam Baker has since been released on bond.

The search for Zahra has also turned up a mattress police pulled from a dump and are testing it for DNA matter.

Since the girl disappeared, relatives and neighbors have recalled how Zahra was frequently bruised and accused Elisa Baker of frequently yelling at the girl for walking too slow, locking her in a room all day except for meals, and blaming her bruises on the girl's own clumsiness.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Zahra Baker Case: Prosthetic Leg Discovered, Thought to Be Missing Girl's

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(HICKORY, N.C.) -- Investigators have discovered a prosthetic leg that matches the description of the one worn by missing disabled girl Zahra Baker, police announced Wednesday.

The leg was discovered in a "brushy area," but was not buried, off a road in Caldwell County, N.C. late Tuesday afternoon, Hickory Police Chief Tom Adkins said in a news conference.

"The prosthetic leg is consistent with what Zahra's would be like," the chief said.

He said police were determined to find out what happened to the 10-year-old girl.

"We will continue to follow every lead and every tip we receive in hopes that we can come to some kind of conclusion to this investigation and bring peace to Zahra," Adkins told reporters.

Zahra, who was reported missing by her parents on Oct. 9, lost her left leg and hearing in a childhood battle with cancer. Elisa Baker, Zahra's stepmother, was taken into custody on unrelated charges soon after police began searching for the little girl. A $1 million ransom note was discovered on the Bakers' property on Oct. 9, a note Elisa Baker later admitted to writing. She has since been charged with felony obstruction of justice.

The announcement concerning the leg came just hours after police said that Elisa Baker had begun providing them information in the search for Zahra.

Hickory police announced earlier Wednesday they had seized a mattress discovered in a Caldwell County landfill that they believe was used by Zahra. The mattress had DNA evidence investigators plan to test, police said in a statement.

Zahra's father, Adam Baker, was taken into custody on Monday on several charges unrelated to his daughter's disappearance.

After 17 days of widespread searching based on several leads, police have not publicly revealed any major clues about the girl's location until Wednesday.

Police are working to ensure it's the one used by the girl whom they believe is dead.

Police returned to the Bakers' home today, but Adkins would only say "information" led them back to the home where the mysterious case began.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Search for Zahra Baker: 911 Tapes Released

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(HICKORY, N.C.) -- The Hickory, North Carolina police department Tuesday released the tapes of the two 911 calls that Adam and Elisa Baker made around the time their 10-year-old daughter, Zahra Baker, was reported missing.

WSOC-TV in Charlotte obtained the tape of the first call.  On Oct. 9, the day Zahra disappeared, her stepmother, Elisa Baker, reported a fire in the back of the family's home in Hickory.

"My husband works for a tree maintenance company and our backyard is on fire....We've got big mulch piles and wood piles...firewood and stuff," Elisa Baker told the 911 operator.

Police told WSOC-TV that they now believe the fire had been set deliberately, but no one has been charged in connection with the incident.

Eight hours later on the morning of Oct. 10, Adam Baker, 33, made a second 911 call to report his daughter was missing, police said.

"Hey, how are you doing? I need police," Baker said to one dispatcher, before he was transferred to a second dispatcher who took down his information.

On the tape with the second dispatcher, of which ABC News obtained a recording, Baker can be heard describing how the police had been out to his house the night before on a seemingly different case.

"The police were out here last night after finding a ransom note for my boss's daughter, I got up a little while ago and it appears they took my daughter instead of my boss's daughter," he told the 911 operator, saying that he last saw his daughter around 2:30 a.m. that night.

"I don't know if they set a fire in the yard to distract us to go out and then they snuck in the door, or, I don't know," he continued.  "Somebody had put gas in my company's truck that I drive for work.  They left the ransom note on the company vehicle to my boss saying they had his daughter and his son was next."

Later in the call, Baker can be heard chuckling with the dispatcher after he described his daughter's disappearance.

"My daughter's coming into puberty so she's in that brooding stage, so we only see her when she comes out, when she wants something," he said.

A prime suspect in the case, Elisa Baker, 42, is currently being held on an obstruction of justice charge after police said she admitted to writing the fake ransom note and demanding $1 million in unmarked bills.  Her court-appointed attorney said Elisa is "scared to death" and very emotional.  Baker continues to deny she had anything to do with Zahra's disappearance.

Hickory police also announced Tuesday that they are asking for Zahra's medical records, including the model, serial number and composition of the artificial leg she received from an Australian medical facility.  Deputy Police Chief Maj. Clyde Deal told ABC News that this was standard procedure for any case.  The 10-year-old had lost her hearing and left leg to cancer.

Authorities confirmed over the weekend that the missing girl was last seen alive on Sept. 25. 

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Zahra Baker Case: Frustration at Alleged Abuse Boils Over

Photo Courtesy - CatawbaCountyNC [dot] gov(HICKORY, N.C.) -- Vigils for missing children are generally sources of collective strength and hope, but in the case of missing disabled 10-year-old Zahra Baker, countless allegations of repeated domestic abuse spawned another feeling entirely Wednesday night: anger.

"I hope this will be the beginning of no one not speaking out when they see a child being hurt," one woman said in a passionate plea as onlookers held back tears around her during a candlelit vigil for Zahra in Hickory, N.C.

Zahra, who lost her left leg and hearing in a childhood battle with cancer, was reported missing Saturday but police have been unable to find anyone other than her parents who have seen the girl in weeks.

Police searching for any sign of the girl have focused on a woodchipper and mulch piles a few miles from the Baker home and have drained a nearby pond, all to no avail.

Several former neighbors, along with one relative, have come forward to claim the girl was repeatedly abused by her stepmother, Elisa Baker.

Baker, who was already in custody on unrelated charges, admitted Tuesday to writing a ransom note demanding $1 million in connection with the case, police said. But she has since denied any involvement in the girl's disappearance.

Earlier that day, police chief Tom Adkins made an emotional announcement shifting the investigation from a missing persons case to a homicide.

Zahra's father, Adam Baker, told Good Morning America Monday he believed his wife could be involved in his daughter's disappearance. But now police have turned their attention to him, claiming he has not been cooperating with the investigation.

"He seems concerned. I don't know how sincere his concern is," Burke County Sheriff John McDevitt said Wednesday as investigators continued to search for any sign of Zahra's remains. When asked if he believed Adam Baker, McDevitt said, "I don't."

Much of last night's anger was focused on Zahra's extended family, who some people implied did nothing to protect the little girl. But one family friend stood up to defend them and said the family called social services on Zahra's behalf.

"They tried, they really tried," Baker family friend Lindsey Parker said at the vigil. "And I just want everybody here to know that the family honestly tried."

Elisa Baker's son, who also attended the vigil, did not comment on the allegations of abuse.

"Right now's not the appropriate time for that, you know," Douglas Baker told Good Morning America. "We need to let all the facts come out and go from there."

Another family friend, Brandy Stapleton, said she took a picture of Zahra more than two months ago in which the child clearly has a bruise under her eye. 

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Confession? Missing Girl's Stepmom Admits Writing Ransom Note

Photo Courtesy - CatawbaCountyNC [dot] gov(HICKORY, N.C.) -- Authorities in the case of missing disabled 10-year-old Zahra Baker are now treating the investigation as a homicide, police said Tuesday.

Hickory, N.C., Police Chief Tom Adkins struggled to keep his composure as he announced he was canceling the Amber Alert for the little girl, indicating the chief believes Zahra is dead.

He also said the girl's stepmother, Elisa Baker, who is already in custody on unrelated charges, admitted in police interviews to writing a ransom note that was left on one of the Baker's cars Saturday, the day Zhara was reported missing.

Police are charging Elisa Baker with felony obstruction of justice, Adkins said, marking the first time she's been charged in connection with her disabled stepdaughter's disappearance. Zhara lost her left leg and hearing in a childhood battle with cancer.

Though the girl was first reported missing on Saturday, police cannot find anyone outside her immediate family that's seen her in the past few weeks and an extensive search -- which included help from federal authorities and volunteers -- has proved fruitless.

Search warrants for the Bakers' two cars and home contained confounding details in the case, including the discovery of a $1 million ransom note left on one of the family's two vehicles. The note, however, was not addressed to Zahra's parents but to her father's boss, Mark David Coffey.

Police are looking into claims by a relative and former neighbors that Zahra was physically abused by her stepmother before she vanished.

Police revealed new twists in the investigation of Zahra's disappearance Monday, including the existence of the $1 million ransom note, positive dog alerts for human remains in cars belonging to both of her parents, and doubts about the parents' timeline dating back as far as a month.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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