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Entries in Zahra Baker (22)

Monday
Jan302012

Adam Baker Deported with Daughter Zahra’s Remains

iStockphoto/THinkstock(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) -- Adam Baker, the father of slain North Carolina 10-year-old Zahra Baker, has been deported to Australia, and has taken the girl’s remains with him, Baker’s attorneys said Monday.

Zahra Baker was killed in October 2010 by Adam’s wife -- and the girl’s stepmother -- Elisa Baker. Adam Baker, 33, had met the woman online and moved from Australia to be with her, taking Zahra with him. Zahra’s mother, Emily Deitrich, had given Adam custody because of postpartum depression.

Zahra Baker had lost a leg and part of her hearing during two bouts with bone cancer. Her life with her stepmother was marked by abuse, frequent bruises, and being locked for hours each day in a room, witnesses told police and ABC News.

When she was killed, her disappearance wasn’t reported for weeks and police eventually determined that she had been murdered and her body dismembered. Police found her prosthetic leg and parts of her body, but her head was never located.

Adam Baker was never arrested or named a person of interest in the murder of his daughter.

According to Adam Baker’s attorneys, Zahra’s remains will be buried in a family plot in Australia, ABC affiliate WSOC reported.

Baker’s attorney, Shell Pearce, told the Charlotte Observer that his client left the country quietly about two weeks ago, after receiving a suspended sentence for misdemeanor crimes in Cawtawba County. Charges against Baker in Caldwell County remain pending, though Pearce said Monday he did not believe Baker would be brought back to the U.S. for those hearings, according to WSOC.

In 2011, authorities revealed that Baker was in the country illegally and U.S. officials were arranging for his deportation.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Sep152011

Elisa Baker to Serve At Least 14 Years in Prison for Zahra's Murder

Catawba County Sheriff's Office(HICKORY, N.C.) -- Elisa Baker will serve at least 14 years in prison after pleading guilty Thursday to second-degree murder of her 10-year-old stepdaughter, Zahra Baker.

As a part of her plea agreement, Baker admitted to killing Zahra as well as attempting to inhibit the investigation by planting a fake ransom note at the family’s home in October of 2010.

The biological parents of Zahra Baker begged Elisa Baker, the stepmother who pleaded guilty to killing and dismembering the disabled North Carolina girl, to tell them the location of the rest of Zahra's remains.

Elisa Baker, 43, was sentenced Thursday to between 14 and 18 years in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree murder. She was charged with 10-year-old Zahra's murder in February. She also pleaded guilty to charges of obstruction of justice, bigamy, obtaining property under false pretenses and identity theft.

Zahra Baker had a short, brutal life. She lost a leg and much of her hearing in two bouts with bone cancer, and relatives and friends say she was abused and frequently bruised by her stepmother.
She was reported missing on Oct. 9, 2010. Her prosthetic leg was found Oct. 27, 2010. Portions of her dismembered remains were later found, but her skull, her hands, one leg and an arm are still missing.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb222011

Murdered Girl's Father: Wife Elisa “Biggest Mistake of My Life”

Elisa Baker is accused of murdering and desecrating the body of her stepdaughter, Zahra Baker. Photo Courtesy - CatawbaCountyNC [dot] gov(HICKORY, N.C.) -- Zahra Baker's father has maintained his innocence in the death and dismemberment of his daughter after prosecutors Monday charged his wife, Elisa Baker, with the girl's death.

Adam Baker, speaking to North Carolina TV station WBTV, said he had “no involvement” in his daughter’s death or dismemberment and called Elisa Baker “the biggest mistake of my life.”

After the initial report of Zahra's disappearance in October, Elisa Baker wrote in jailhouse letters that her husband did something "horrifying" to Zahra after she was dead. But Catawba County District Attorney James Gaither Jr. said Monday "the state has no credible evidence to suggest anyone other than Elisa Baker was involved," apparently ruling out possible charges against the girl's father.

Elisa Baker, 42, is accused of abusing, murdering and desecrating the body of stepdaughter Zahra, Gaither said.

The head of Zahra has never been recovered. Gaither declined to discuss the cause of death and the coroner's report stated only that Zahra died as a result of "undetermined homicidal violence." Two different kinds of tool marks were found on many of the bones, indicating that she was dismembered after she died. The bones also indicate her flesh was scavenged by animals.

Zahra, who lost a leg and much of her hearing in a childhood battle with bone cancer, was reported missing Oct. 9, but police believe she had disappeared weeks before that date.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Feb212011

Stepmother Accused of Murdering Disabled 10-Year-Old

Photo Courtesy - ABC News (handout)(HICKORY, N.C.) -- The stepmother of a disabled North Carolina girl who was found dead and dismembered was charged Monday with murder.

Prosecutors said they would soon announce murder charges against stepmother Elisa Baker, and the cause of death for 10-year-old Zahra Baker.

Zahra, who lost a leg and much of her vision in a childhood battle with cancer, was reported missing Oct. 9, but police believe she had disappeared weeks before that date. On Oct. 27, police found a prosthetic leg and matched the serial number to the one she used.

On Nov. 3, cops found Zahra's remains scattered over several locations they were guided to by Elisa Baker.

Police allege that in the hours after Zahra's parents reported her missing, Elisa Baker penned a bogus $1 million ransom note.

Before Zahra's body was found, Elisa Baker was indicted for obstructing justice. She is currently in jail awaiting trial.

Two weeks before police found the girl's remains, Elisa Baker indicated in a jailhouse letter that the child was dead, but expressed no remorse or guilt. Instead, she felt sorry for herself and made vague accusations against her husband, Adam Baker.

In the letters, written to crime memorabilia dealer Eric Gein, Elisa Baker said Adam did something "horrifying" to Zahra after she was dead. Adam Baker's attorney told ABC News in November that those claims were nothing more than a "desperate" attempt at distraction.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jan052011

Zahra Baker Case: Stepmom Role-Played 'Chainsaw Massacre'

Photo Courtesy - CatawbaCountyNC [dot] gov(HICKORY, N.C.) -- Recently-released warrants reveal contradictions by the stepmother of Zahra Baker, the North Carolina girl who was murdered and dismembered, and indicate police have investigated the parents' online role playing of a "chainsaw massacre" game.

The 10-year-old's stepmother, Elisa Baker, told police the girl died two weeks before she made a 911 call reporting her disappearance, according to more than 200 pages of court documents released Tuesday.

Elisa Baker also told police it was her husband, Adam Baker, who cut the girl up before disposing of her body in several locations in the area around the couple's North Carolina home.

GPS phone tracking records included in the warrants note that while Elisa Baker's cell phone was in the areas where the remains were dumped, but Adam Baker's was not.

The publication of the date of the child's death as given by Elisa Baker -- Sept. 24 -- is the first time any date of death has been made public, but it contradicts one witness who told police previously he had seen the girl alive a day later. The warrants also state a witness claimed to have had an alarming online conversation with the Bakers around that time.

According to the court documents, the person using the online name "NoeticsSoul" blogged "that she had a conversation with Adam Baker and/or Elisa Baker regarding their involvement with chainsaw massacre role-playing... The date of September 22 was given regarding their virtual family 'doing a murder with chainsaws....'" The warrants do not reveal how the girl died.

One person involved in the online virtual family fantasies was identified as Aaron Young. Police discovered that Elisa Baker was married to Young at the time she got married to Adam Baker, but that she had told Adam Baker that Young was her brother.

Elisa Baker and Young were later divorced, but the warrants state they kept in "frequent" contact and police requested permission to track phone records from Young's cellular provider.

Zahra, who lost her left leg and most of her hearing in a childhood battle with cancer, was reported missing on Oct. 9 after police responded to a small fire in the Baker's yard. At the scene, police discovered a ransom note demanding $1 million.

Elisa Baker later admitted to writing the note herself and was arrested on obstruction of justice. After an exhaustive search, Zahra's prosthetic leg, a bone fragment and her remains were all discovered in seperate locations. No one has been charged with the girl's murder.

Elisa Baker remains in prison on obstruction of justice and several unrelated charges. In addition to her primary attorney Scott Reilly, a homicide attorney has been "provisionally appointed" to the case in October.

Adam Baker was previously held on unrelated charges, but was released on bond.

Police declined to comment on the released documents, but told ABC News, "The investigation is ongoing." Lisa Dubs, the homicide attorney assigned to defend Elisa Baker, did not immediately return request for comment. 

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Monday
Dec202010

Evidence in Zahra Baker Case Turned Over to Prosecutors

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(HICKORY, N.C.) -- Police in North Carolina investigating the death of 10-year-old Zahra Baker have handed the case over to prosecutors, leading to speculation that a suspect in the disabled young girl's murder will be arrested imminently.

According to the Hickory Daily Record, Hickory, North Carolina police chief Tom Adkins said the district attorney will review the case and make a decision.

"We turned over a preliminary case file to the District Attorney's Office for him to start reviewing and consider what course of action he wants to take concerning who he wants to charge and what charges he wants to pursue," Adkins told the newspaper.

Baker's dismembered remains were found early last month after a month-long search.  Though no one has been arrested in connection with her death, her stepmother, Elisa Baker, has been jailed on obstruction of justice charges.  Police say Baker wrote a fake $1 million ransom note, which was discovered at the family's home the day Zahra was reported missing.

The remains of Baker, whose struggle with cancer left her wearing a prosthetic leg and hearing aids, were discovered scattered in rural areas areas of Caldwell County, N.C., where the Baker family previously lived.  Police had searched the area previously while accompanied by Elisa Baker.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Dec052010

Zahra Baker Case: Stepmother Reportedly Cuts a Deal

Photo Courtesy - ABC News/Handout(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) -- Zahra Baker's stepmother has reportedly made a deal with prosecutors that would allow her to avoid a first degree murder charge -- and a potential sentence of death or life in prison -- to help with the investigation of the girl's death. Sources told ABC affiliate WSOC-TV in Charlotte, N.C., that Elisa Baker signed an agreement with prosecutors that would take first degree murder charges off the table in the death of the 10-year-old disabled girl whose dismembered body was found in November after a month-long search.

Neither Elisa Baker's attorneys nor prosecutors would confirm the deal, but warrants in the case released this week detail the cooperation she has provided police in the case. According to the documents, Zahra's stepmother Elisa Baker told North Carolina police through her lawyer that after the girl's death, Zahra was dismembered, her body parts placed in trash bags and then rolled into a comforter and car cover. Baker also directed police where to look for the body parts.

The stepmother directed police to a dumpster where she and husband Adam Baker, the little girl's father, dumped Zahra's mattress, the warrant said. A car cover and comforter used to "conceal and transport the body parts" were also stashed in the dumpster. Investigators eventually found Zahra's prosthetic leg wrapped in a white trash bag and tossed in a separate dumpster. A piece of bone and additional body parts were found at two additional locations.

Zahra had lost her leg along with most of her hearing while battling with bone cancer.

Elisa Baker is currently in jail on one charge of felony obstruction of justice after allegedly admitting she penned a $1 million ransom note which was discovered Oct. 9, the day Zahra went missing from her Hickory, N.C., home.

Adam Baker was held in prison on unrelated charges, but is free on bond.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Dec012010

Zahra Baker Case: Warrant's Grim Details on Body Disposal

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(HICKORY, N.C.) -- Grim new details have emerged in the death of disabled 10-year-old Zahra Baker in a police search warrant in which the girl's stepmother told police that bits of bone and bodily fluids could be found in a bathtub drain.

According to the documents, released Tuesday night, Zahra's stepmother, Elisa Baker, told North Carolina police through her lawyer that after the girl's death, Zahra was dismembered before her body parts were placed in trash bags and rolled into a comforter and car cover. Elisa Baker also directed police to a dumpster where she and husband Adam Baker dumped Zahra's mattress, the warrant said.

Investigators eventually found Zahra's prosthetic leg, wrapped in a white trash bag and tossed in a separate dumpster. She had lost her leg, along with most of her hearing in a battle with bone cancer.

Though the warrant offers new information in how Zahra's body was dumped, it does not shed any light on how or why the child died.

In a jailhouse letter obtained by ABC News last month, Elisa Baker wrote, "We really didn't kill her, but what he [Adam Baker] did after the fact is kinda horrifying."

A second warrant revealed that police investigated a secondhand tip that Zahra had been raped by two men before her death when the men hit her on the head. Hickory police would not comment on the warrants, except to say the investigation is ongoing. They are expected to release a statement later today.

Elisa Baker is currently in jail one charge of felony obstruction of justice after allegedly admitting she penned a $1 million ransom note which was discovered Oct. 9, the day Zahra went missing from her Hickory, N.C. home. Adam Baker was held in prison on unrelated charges, but is free on bond.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Friday
Nov192010

Zahra Baker Case: Stepmom Investigated for Bigamy

Photo Courtesy - Catawba County, North Carolina(HICKORY, N.C.) -- Police are investigating possible bigamy charges against the stepmother of Zahra Baker, the disabled North Carolina girl whose body was found dismembered earlier this month.

"It's something that we found out during the course of [Zahra's] investigation," a police official told ABC News of the inquiry into Elisa Baker's alleged second husband. The investigation is not connected to Zahra's death, the official said.

The bizarre twist in the case comes as investigators wait for a "couple hundred" pieces of evidence related to Zahra Baker's death to return from lab analysis, the official said.

Elisa Baker is currently in jail, held on charges including felony obstruction of justice for allegedly admitting to penning a $1 million ransom note that was discovered Oct. 9, the same day Zahra was first reported missing from her Hickory, N.C., home. Zahra lost her left leg and hearing in a childhood battle with cancer. The girl's prosthetic leg, a bone fragment and remains were found in separate locations.

The man who was reportedly married to Elisa Baker before she married Adam Baker in Australia in 2008 lived across the street from the Baker family's Sawmills, N.C., home, according to divorce papers found by ABC News' Charlotte affiliate WSOC. Baker's current husband, Adam Baker, was also held in prison on unrelated charges, but has been released on bond.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Monday
Nov152010

Court Docs: Zahra Baker Was Dismembered, Stepmom Said

Photo Courtesy - CatawbaCountyNC dot gov(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) -- Ten-year-old North Carolina girl Zahra Baker was dismembered after her death and her remains were scattered in several locations, the girl's stepmother told investigators, according to court documents filed Monday.

Lawyers for Zahra's stepmother, Elisa Baker, filed the documents as part of a bond reduction request as evidence Baker had been aiding the search for the disabled girl's remains, according to ABC affiliate WSOC-TV in Charlotte, N.C. The attorneys also claim Baker led searchers to Zahra's prosthetic leg. Elisa Baker is in jail, being held on charges she allegedly wrote a fake ransom note after Zahra disappeared.

The leg, a bone fragment and the girl's remains were discovered in different locations.

In jailhouse letters, Elisa Baker said her husband, Adam, did something "horrifying" to Zahra after she was dead. Adam Baker's attorney told ABC News Monday those claims were nothing more than a "desperate" attempt at distraction.

Two weeks before police announced they had discovered Zahra Baker's remains, Elisa Baker indicated in a jailhouse letter that the child was dead, but expressed no remorse or guilt -- only self-pity and vague accusations against her husband.

"I was trying to save us both, but why should I? He is letting everyone destroy me," Elisa Baker wrote, referring to Adam Baker.

In an earlier letter Baker wrote, "We really didn't kill her, but what he [Adam Baker] did after the fact is kinda horrifying."

In the latest letter, obtained exclusively by ABC News, Baker said she "ain't the monster people are saying."

She also said she was frustrated by her lawyer's refusal to allow her to do TV interview requests. "I want a chance to be heard damn it. This is my life and everyone is playing with and I have no control over what is said or done," she wrote.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio