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ZAHRA BAKER (10) - DISAPPEARANCE A HOMICIDE - ELISA BAKER INDICTED FOR MURDER - PRE-TRIAL -TRIAL & SENTENCING

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#21 [url]

Oct 27 10 1:47 PM

                                    PRESS CONFERENCE SCHEDULED
 
THE OBSERVER
"The stepmother is reportedly assisting authorities investigating Zahra’s disappearance,
although the Observer noted that investigators declined to say why she has “chosen to
cooperate or whether she has confessed to any crimes."


WCNC NEWS
"Investigators have returned to the Hickory home where 10-year-old Zahra Baker
was reported missing two weeks ago."

NewsChannel 36 reporter Rad Berky said police were searching and digging in
 the backyard."

Hickory police have scheduled a formal media briefing today at 4:30 p.m.

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#22 [url]

Oct 27 10 5:29 PM

 THE PRESS CONFERENCE
Police Chief Tom Adkins (Hickory N.C. Police)
"Officers discovered the prosthetic leg late Tuesday afternoon
on the side of a road, in a brushy area, but not buried,
off Christie Road in Caldwell County.
 
Investigators have discovered a prosthetic leg consistent with
the description of Zahra Baker's left prosthesis. We are attempting
to positively confirm the prosthetic leg is Zahra's by a serial number.
The prosthetic leg was originally fitted in Australia. It'll take some
time to confirm if it's hers."

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


                                   NEW SEARCH AT HOME'S BACKYARD
 

As many as a dozen officers and crime scene technicians roped off the front and
back yards of the house. They began digging near a wood pile just off the driveway,
then dug at least two other holes with the backhoe in the back yard. Investigators
using rakes carefully combed through the dirt as it was turned over.

At one point the digging stopped and everyone stood back while one investigator
retrieved a small object from one of the holes. That item was placed in an evidence
bag the size of a grocery bag and was placed in a crime scene van.
 
Search dogs were used both inside and outside of the Baker property. 

 

Chief Tom Adkins
"New information" led to the renewed search inside and outside the home,"
"Technicians working at the Baker home Wednesday are recovering additional
pieces of evidence."
 

NANCY GRACE SHOW

Crews digging in the Baker's backyard with a backhoe and rakes
have found other evidence. They did a big dig and then men would
sift through the dirt with rakes. They were looking through the dirt
for something.

Police pulled out evidence and placed it into a black bag and left.
Then police returned to investigate the interior.

FBI have entered the home.

They won't say what they've found. They were photographing as they dug.

Adam Baker (Zahra's father) bonded out of jail on Wednesday.

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#23 [url]

Oct 31 10 11:49 AM

Zahra didn't want to leave Australia

"Zahra’s father had hit it off with a Hickory woman, the former Elisa Fairchild.
They met on IMVU.com, an online community where people interact with each
other in the form of 3-D avatars.

The relationship moved from the virtual to Giru, when Elisa went to visit in 2008.

In Giru, the Bakers’ friend, Kim Wright, thought that Elisa wasn’t telling the truth
about who she was. She claimed to be a police officer shot in the line of duty.
She said she was a bounty hunter. “She had a lot of stories that never quite rang
true,” Wright said.

Adam Baker married Elisa Fairchild in July 2008 in the backyard of Adam’s
parents’ house in Giru, not far from the sugar mill. That November, the couple
moved to North Carolina, some 10,000 miles from Australia.

Zahra didn’t want to leave her grandparents and friends, Wright said.

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#24 [url]

Nov 1 10 12:25 PM

2010 - October 31 -  MEMORIAL TO ZAHRA
 

"Sunday Two SBI agents holding garbage bags walked to the shrine at the base

of the oak tree in front of the house. They reached in the bags, pulled out toy

plush animals and notes that had been left for Zahra and arranged them in front

of the tree.

 

A second shrine has appeared in recent days at the bottom of the family’s mailbox

in front of the house because the crime scene tape ringing the property has limited

access to the original memorial."

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#25 [url]

Nov 1 10 12:34 PM

Punishment was her routine 

"A concerned teacher provided Zahra with her home phone number and told
her to call."

Kayla Rotenberry (Neighbor)

Elisa Baker told her that Social Services was investigating.
“She was angry that people were getting into her business,” she said.
“We all tried to stop her. That little girl was so sweet. Always smiling
through it all. She just wanted to be loved.”

"Corrine and her friend Brandy Hefner, 16, noticed Zahra crying as she
walked up the hill. “She was making Zahra walk up the hill by herself
because that’s how she would punish her because she (Elisa) knew
it would hurt Zahra’s leg,”  Corrine said."

Corrine said it wasn’t the first time she’d called authorities about how
Zahra was treated. “You could hear Zahra screaming and Elisa yelling
at her, so we would call the police,” Corrine said. “We called DSS on
her too, but they never did anything.”


More in article - including how Adam and Elisa Baker fought constantly,
other places they lived, people didn't know they had a daughter - Zahra
likely lived in an attic cubbyhole.

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#26 [url]

Nov 1 10 12:37 PM

2010 - November 1 -
 
 Deputy Chief Clyde Deal (Hickory Police) stated on Sunday, the 31st-
"Searchers will probably return to Zahra Baker's house early today,
and authorities will then decide where to focus for the rest of the week."


Jay Gaither (District Attorney)
"My office isn't preparing charges but I am consulting with the N.C. Attorney
General's office and other prosecutors on the issue of prosecuting a murder
if the victim's body isn't recovered. The absence of a body is not considered
to be a bar to prosecution by my office."

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#27 [url]

Nov 1 10 6:42 PM

2010 - November 1 - Prosthetic confirmed as Zahra Baker's.

Chief Tom Adkins (Hickory Police Department)
"There was a transponder on the inside of the prosthesis found on Christie
Road, and Hickory police had to use a scanner to determine the serial
number. Police then had to contact the facility in Australia that fitted Zahra’s
prosthesis to determine if it was the same one that was found in Caldwell County.
 
The process took some time, not only did the police department need to get
assistance with scanning the transponder, but that the records couldn’t just
be emailed.
 

“When you are getting medical records from another country, to positively

confirm it, you need to have the records mailed to you and have them in-hand

Medical records obtained from Australia matched the serial number on the
prosthetic leg."

                                  INDICTMENT

A Catawba County Grand Jury has indicted Elisa Baker, the stepmother 
of Zahra Baker (10), on 1 count of Felony Obstruction of Justice.

The indictment stated "the offense happened on Oct. 9, the day Zahra
was reported missing by her father, Adam Baker.
 
Elisa Baker "unlawfully, willfully and feloniously did with deceit and intent
to defraud a police investigation, obstruct justice by constructing and placing
a false ransom letter and reporting an abduction of her stepdaughter, Zahra Baker."

 NANCY GRACE SHOW

Police were in the home ripping out drywall from the walls.

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#28 [url]

Nov 1 10 7:34 PM

                                    EVIDENCE SEIZED

Chief Tom Adkins (Hickory Police Dept.)
"We're seizing every piece of evidence related to the case.
Hopefully we can piece together what occured.

 
"Investigators were led back to the house for additional evidence
based on new leads. Information that we gathered led us back to
more evidence that may be present. Other areas of Caldwell
County were also searched today, based on tips received over
the weekend. Those tips are not from Elisa Baker or her attorney
Lisa Dubs. We haven't spoken to her attorney since last Tuesday."


Investigators, Hickory Fire Dept. and SBI returned to the Baker home
today, using an axe, chainsaw, wrenches and halligan bars and other
power tools. Investigators were focusing on the right rear of the house
which was reportedly where Zahra's bedroom was located.

As the search in the house proceeded, investigators would bring out
evidence concealed in brown paper bags, reportedly larger than their
torsos.

Investigators also carried out a section of drywall approximately 4
feet across. It was splotched pink on one side and gray on the other.


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#29 [url]

Nov 2 10 10:15 PM

                                     LETTERS FROM JAIL

Elisa Baker has been busy. Since there's not much for her to do behind bars,
she's written to Eric Gein, owner of Serial Killers Ink (a top selling murderabilia
website
). Gein's site publishes (& sells) letters and artwork from accused criminals.


Eric Gein
"I wrote to Baker in the Hickory, N.C., jail shortly after her arrest.
I've received two very telling letters from her."

FROM ELISA BAKER'S LETTERS

"So many missing kids, but Zahra isn't missing, the cops know where she
is and what he has done. That's right what he has done.
 
"Anyway, how are you spending Halloween? Have fun for me please."
 
"I'm going crazy in this cell. I have told the cops everything I know [a]bout
what's happened to Zahra. They arrested Adam, but he got right back out.
How fair is that? See I told you I have no support. I have never been so a
ngry over stuff as I am right now. He knows what happened to Zahra, and
yet I'm the one in here at least for now."

:If I hadn't admitted to that stupid note I [would] be out in three weeks but
no, they kept pushing an[d] he did that too."
 
"I'm in solitary confinement and on suicide watch. I feel like I have nothing
 to live for now."

                                  "I'VE MADE IT TO THE NANCY GRACE SHOW"

"I heard I have even made it to the Nancy Grace show.
The[y] keep calling my lawyer wanting [an] interview with me. Everyone does.
Sometimes I think my lawyer shouldn't keep me out of the media. I want a
chance to tell the truth and defend myself. No one else is. But, I keep getting
told to say nothing is best."

Baker talked about being debriefed by police in one of her letters to Gein and
said that Adam is supposed to be arrested again soon.

"I don't know," Baker wrote. "Nothing has went [sic] the way it was supposed
to, not yet so far. ... I am beyond stressed. When I saw my attorneys today
and they said he was out after them promising me for my safety he wouldn't
be let out I flipped and have cried since."

                                    "WE DIDN'T REALLY KILL HER"

 "We didn't really kill her but what he did after the fact is kinda horrifying.
Makes me scared of him."

Baker's letters contain "a variety of doodles and random phrases like
"be part of the freak show" and "Some girls, wanna be princess's when
they grow up. I want to be a vampire!"

                                      HICKORY POLICE
 
Maj. Clyde Deal (Hickory Police)
"The handwriting in the letters is similar to that of Elisa Baker.
Police will have an expert compare the letters to letters definitely
written by Elisa Baker at the jail on Wednesday."
 
"I think probably these letters were (written) down at the jail.
"I am not a handwriting analyst, but I mean, I wouldn't suspect that
it didn't [come from her].

"Obviously not everything she speaks in there is true. The contents of
the letter "sound much like the same stuff that she's spouting to some
other people."

Mark L. Killian (Adam Baker's attorney)
"I have "no comment" about the letters."

Jared Amos (Elisa Baker's attorney)
"No comment."

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#30 [url]

Nov 3 10 7:43 AM

2010 - November 2- Adam Baker evicted.
 

Adam Baker, his mother, brother and attorney Mark Killian went into

the backyard and took photos before they went inside the house to

remove Adam's belongings. Baker refused to answer media questions.

Mark Killian (Attorney for Adam Baker)

Baker is struggling with the loss of his daughter and everything that’s

happened since. It’s just real tough for him, obviously. I don’t know a

whole lot right now.”

Capt. Thurman Whisnant (Hickory Police)
"The house is no longer considered part of the search. 
Baker, through his lawyer, had asked permission to remove his personal
belongings from the house."


Baker’s landlord
"Baker is being evicted and he was in the house to get his belongings.
I’m putting him out on the street. I have no need to have any of his effects in

the house and I’m not cleaning it out.”

"The police search has rendered the property uninhabitable."

 “It’s still America. It’s still innocent until proven guilty. For some reason,

the police are letting him walk around while someone else is in jail.”

"I plan to leave the shrine for Zahra in place."

Volunteers among the crowd of onlookers moved toys and notes from

the base of the mailbox over to the base of the tree in the front yard.

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#33 [url]

Nov 4 10 9:01 PM

Nothing has been released as to whether or not Zahra Baker's body has been
found. It's unlikely her remains were found inside a mattress, especially since
cadaver dogs hit upon mulch piles and there's a woodchipper involved.

If indeed, if either or both of those two murdered Zahra and used a woodchipper
to destroy Zahra's body, then both ought to get the DP or life in prison.

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#34 [url]

Nov 4 10 9:02 PM

2010 - November 4 - NANCY GRACE SHOW
 
Elisa Baker has written to family members.
 
From a letter from Elisa Baker to a cousin:
 
"Zahra had been sick for awhile. I found Zahra dead."
 

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#35 [url]

Nov 5 10 8:37 PM

2010 - November 5 - Mother of Zahra says she has been fighting for her share of
                              custody of Zahra for 9 years.

Emily Dietrich (Zahra's mother) 
"I had postnatal depression after Zahra was born and Adam Baker was given
custody, but I've been fighting for my share of custody of Zahra for nine years.
As I recovered my health, I tried to make contact with Adam Baker and Zahra.
Inever gave up looking for Zahra and Adam, finally tracking him to America via
the internet, only to have Zahra reported missing three days later.
 
Why would it happen that I find her and three days later this happens?
It's just mean. I don't want them to find more because it will tell a story I
don't want to hear. 'I never got to say goodbye, I never got to say hello.
 
"I fear my daughter is dead."
 
"They reckon mothers just have this bond with their children and I think having
any hope in me makes it hurt more with what they're finding and the way they
were saying she was treated. The only hope I have in me now is that she is
gone so she's not being hurt any more."
 
""She found me to find her and I like to believe that . . . she was already gone
when I found her and she found me to tell her story and to find her and put her
to rest.
 
"I can't explain the anger . . . the hurt. He had no right to do any of it, to keep
her from me. I felt robbed before she was taken for good. Now I just feel broken."
 
 

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#36 [url]

Nov 5 10 8:39 PM

SLIDESHOW - Photos of interior of Baker home after search.
(located on right side of page, accompanying article)

"In the kitchen, you can see where investigators took out a section of the ceiling
and also pried up the floor boards. They left the kitchen sink, but took all the drain
pipes away.

In the bathroom, more floorboards pulled up and this sink is now gone.

Then, we go to Zahra's room. See the holes left by investigators. A square of
flooring cut out all the way to the joists. And the whole in the wall is several feet
long.

No furniture in here now, but in the closet, Zahra's clothes are still there.
Some kid stuff on the floor too. And on the top shelf, a candy land game."

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#37 [url]

Nov 6 10 8:33 PM

2010 - November 6 -

Hickory Police
"The bone found during a search for evidence is not a small piece or a chip,
but a complete bone. The bone has been sent to the North Carolina State
Bureau of Investigation lab where tests will begin to learn if it is related to
the case. It will then be sent to the North Carolina Medical Examiner’s
Office lab in Chapel Hill for additional testing."

"Results regarding the bone may not be available until Monday or Tuesday."

The bone was located in the area where the prosthetic leg was found.


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#38 [url]

Nov 10 10 10:56 AM

2010 - November 10 -  ALIASES

Authorities have subpoenaed Elisa Baker's financial records from a bank
in Granite Falls located within a local Walmart. The subpoena indicates
Elisa Baker may have used up to 8 different aliases. Authorities have also
subpoenaed Amber Fairchild's (Elisa Baker's daughter) financial records.


 

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#39 [url]

Nov 11 10 10:45 AM

2010 - November 9- 10 & 11 - SEARCH SITE

Authorities state they have found something, but are not say what they
have found.

WSOC reports "the area was cordoned off and media were not allowed access."

A team of 39 investigators from police, SBI are searching the area around
"Gunpowder Creek" located near Dudley Shoals, beginning at the Dudley
Shoals bridge and spanning out in a half mile in each direction. The search
area is about 10 miles from where Zahra Baker's prosthetic leg was found
and 20 miles from the Baker home.

The area is well known as a dumping ground for animal carcasses by
hunters and others, making it a bone infested site for searchers to
investigate.

About 10 feet from the riverbank, 25 feet from where the paved road ends,
investigators dug a hole measuring about 10 feet around, 2.5 feet deep
at the search site, removing the dirt from the site. A white evidence flag
used to mark bone identification was placed next to the hole.


Tommy Courtner (Emergency Services Director, Caldwell County)

"The area is bone-infested. We're looking for bags, boxes, bones; anything that
can help us."
 
We've brought trained staff out to locate evidence with this case. The water team
searched the banks and stream. We also brought mower devices to trim brush.
The water team, dressed in personal flotation devices and helmets, waded through
the water, which ranged from six inches to five feet in depth, searching with oars for
evidence.

A BOB-CAT with a mower attached to the end rather than a bucket, was used to
trim 18 inches of underbrush from the ground surrounding the higher-up banks.
We have terrain navigation equipment and we've color coded, so we can see what

we've covered. We're doing five-feet of spacing, and three-feet of spacing on high
priority areas, going shoulder-to-shoulder.
 
A safety officer is overseeing the operation, it is necessary, because the water is
dark and rocky."

"We have a medical examiner from Chapel Hill on the scene."
 
Chief Maj. Clyde Deal (Hickory Deputy Police)
"The operation is still going on."

"Investigators returned to Dudley Shoals because of information.
We want to do due diligence to all locations.

(Tuesday) we finished searching Indian Grave, last week we finished Christie
Road. We're still doing interviews every day. The searches are not the only
thing going on in this investigation."
 
"The Hickory Police Department has not spoken to Elisa or her attorneys
 in about a week-and-a-half. However, we have had some conversations in
the last few days with Adam Baker's attorney, Mark Killian."
 
"After investigators leave the scene, a few officers will remain behind to keep
 the area secure overnight."
 
"We'll work until every investigative lead is exhausted, that hasn't happened yet."

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#40 [url]

Nov 11 10 9:17 PM

Hickory Police Statement
"We have located evidence that could provide valuable information in the case
of Zahra Clare Baker, the 10-year-old disabled girl who is missing and feared
slain.

"This evidence will be analyzed at the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation's
lab. We understand the concern and interest in this case by the public, but we must
be cautious in prematurely releasing information so it will not jeopardize any future
criminal proceedings."

Chief Maj. Clyde Deal (Hickory Deputy Police)
"I won't know anything more until I get the results of the testing.
We are confirming that we found evidence that can be valuable,
but until the lab analyzes the evidence ... we are not going to
prematurely release anything on it."

"The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation's lab is closed today.
Investigators will have to wait until Friday to speak with officials there."

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