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

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#41 [url]

Nov 12 10 8:54 PM

2010 - November 12 - ZAHRA CLARE BAKER'S REMAINS FOUND
 
November 10 - Wednesday searchers detected a shallow grave and carefully
                                           dug through the soil and found human remains.
 
Police Chief Tom Adkins
"I've been dreading this moment from early on in this investigation.
We have found enough physical evidence to believe we have found
Zahra.
 
According to medical examiner staff on site, when the remains were
recovered, they are consistent with a child. Positive identification on
the remains is pending.
 
The remains] are consistent with a child, but until testing is complete,
we cannot officially confirm they are Zahra's. The timetable for those
results are not available at this time.
 
DNA taken from Zahra's home matched DNA retrieved from a bone that
was found in Caldwell County last week. The bone was found near Christie
Road, the same area where the girl's prosthetic leg was found late last month.
The samples from the home were taken from personal items believed to belong

to Zahra. A known DNA profile of Zahra will be created from cheek swabs from
her biological mother and father. The swabs will be sent to the North Carolina
State Bureau of Investigation lab to create that profile.


Please understand, I can’t get into many specifics about the investigation,
but the DNA evidence from the bone found on Christie Road matches the
DNA sample taken from the Baker’s house.
 
Investigators, agents, officers and staff who worked on this case are
devastated that we were not able to find Zahra alive and bring her home
safely.

The case is still developing and that investigators are continuing to gather
facts.

This case isn’t over and we won’t rest until we have all the information we need
to bring the people to justice who hurt Zahra.

We must be cautious in releasing further information, so it will not jeopardize
future court proceedings. The release of information from this point on will be
very limited."
 
We appreciate the support we receive from the public. Today our community
mourns. Our state mourns. Our nation mourns and the world mourns, as we
go forward."

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#42 [url]

Nov 15 10 7:07 PM

                                    BOND REDUCTION MOTION
 
ELISA BAKER TELLS AUTHORITIES ZAHRA IS DEAD & WHERE TO FIND
THE PIECES OF HER BODY
 
Lisa Dubs & Scott Reilly (Attorneys for Elisa Baker)
"Elisa’s bond should be reduced because she has assisted with the recovering
of evidence in this case and has been available to help law enforcement with
any questions they had."

"The only credible evidence released to the public by by law enforcement related
to this case is evidence that was collected after Elisa Baker told law enforcement
where to look and what to look for."

"Law enforcement has been able to locate evidence at landfills, the Baker home
and locations throughout Caldwell County and Catawba County, only because
of Elisa Baker’s cooperation and disclosures.”
 
"On Oct. 22,  Elisa Baker talked to her attorneys and investigator about the
circumstances about the disappearance and/or death of Zahra.
 
During the late evening and early morning hours of Oct. 22 and Oct. 23, 
the defense team verified that certain information provided by Ms. Baker
was reliable. As part of that verification, the defense team located and
collected a significant item of evidence.”

Oct. 24, Elisa Baker told police that Zahra "was deceased, that her body

had been dismembered and that it would be recovered at different sites."
The piece of evidence collected by the defense was turned over to law
enforcement.

"She was allowed to accompany police the following two days to sites within
about 15 miles of Hickory, in western North Carolina, showing them where
Zahra's remains were. Elisa Baker identified the object found as a part of a
prosthetic leg and specifically identified it as a gel liner that belonged to
Zahra Baker," 
 
On Oct. 25, Elisa Baker helped investigators with the search, since the
locations were remote. The media spotted her that day at the Dudley Shoals
Road location, in an SUV.


On October 26, a mattress belonging to Zahra was found at a landfill after
information was provided by Elisa Baker and later that day she told police
where the girl's remains could be found.
 
Also on Oct. 26, Elisa Baker told law enforcement where other items of

evidence could be located at the house."

 

"Ms. Baker is a lifelong resident of  Caldwell and Catawba counties, except for

when she went to Australia to marry her husband, Adam Baker.  Elisa’s passport

has been surrendered, and “due to the overwhelming and international publicity this

case has received, Ms. Baker is instantly recognizable and it would be difficult for

her to avoid detection if she should attempt to leave the jurisdiction. Further, has no

assets with which to leave the area."

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#43 [url]

Nov 15 10 7:43 PM


Zahra's biological mother Emily Dietrich hopes to be able to return her daughter's remains
to her native country.

Emily Dietrich
"I'm still hurt, still crushed after learning of Zahra's death.
It didn't make a difference trying to prepare myself. It didn't
make a difference to anybody. As hard as it was to hear the
news they were telling me, it was just as hard watch them
cry while they told me and apologized to me. All they wanted
was to find her and bring her back alive."

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#44 [url]

Nov 16 10 8:44 PM

District Attorney James Gaither
" I will not pressure police investigators to make an arrest. It is not my responsibility
to push them or make something happen when the investigation is ongoing."
 
"I  understand the growing frustration over what happened to the 10-year old girl
who so many feel they have come to know and wish they could have helped.
Certainly the recovery of the remains of Zahra Baker was a critical part of the
investigation but it doesn't mean that investigation is complete or that we are
ready at this point to go forward with charges."

"I question why Lisa Dubbs and a private investigator working for her went out
and picked up important physical evidence in the case."

Lisa Dubbs
"Gaither should know that the defense always has the right to look for evidence.
In this case the unspecified item was brought to Gaither himself to prove that
Elisa Baker would cooperate truthfully."

District Attorney Gaither
"That is a matter I will continue to look into.
I believe there are some reasonable minds that differ on whether that is an
appropriate function of defense council."

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#45 [url]

Nov 17 10 5:13 PM

Adam Baker (tearfully)
"There is no way I would have done that to my baby.
There is no way in the world I would have hurt my daughter."

"I didn't attend the vigil, I watched via the internet with my lawyer
and mother. My presence would have been a disruption as there is
a lot of anger towards me. I didn't want everybody to take their focus
off Zahra.
 
Even if I returned to Australia, my life would never be the same.
There is no way to ever fill the hole left by my daughter."


April Fairchild (Elisa Baker's sister)
(Fairchild attended the vigil)
"My relationship with my sister kept me from seeing Zahra frequently.
The family has now turned against Elisa. Whether her story that she
comes out with now is true, there is no justification even still."
 
"The family does not support her."

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#46 [url]

Nov 25 10 10:00 PM


Elisa Young or Baker? Investigators are investigating whether or not Elisa has committed
bigamy.
 
1998  August 8 - Aaron Young & Elisa are married in S.C.
 
 
 2008 - July -       Elisa marries Adam Baker in Australia. The couple move to
                          Sawmills, S.C. - directly across the street from Aaron Young.
 
                          Bobby Green (former neighbor)
                         "She always told us it (neighbor across the street from Adam & Elisa)  
                          was her brother. After they moved out, I found out it was her "old man."
 
 
2009 - June 28 - Elisa "Baker" files for divorce.


2009 - August 21 - Aaron Young is granted a divorce from Elisa.....13 months after
                           Elisa's "Australian wedding."
                         
 


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#47 [url]

Nov 26 10 9:35 PM

                       OBITUARY RELEASED & MEMORIAL SERVICE PLANNED

ZAHRA CLARE BAKER- OBITUARY
"Zahra never met a stranger and was an inspiration to all those who knew her.
She had a beautiful smile, an energetic personality and a wonderful sense of
humor that gave her the ability to turn the worst possible situation into a fun
situation. Zahra was a strong-willed, courageous girl who attended Granite
Falls and Hudson elementary schools, where she was on the A and B honor
roll."

Survivors listed:
Several of Zahra's family members, including many from her native
Australia;  Zahra's stepsisters, Amber Fairchild and Brittany Starbuck. 
(her stepmother is NOT listed)

Zahra Baker's family is making funeral arrangements with the Drum funeral home.

The family has asked that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made in Zahra's
name to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.

                                    MEMORIAL SERVICE - OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
 
A memorial service for Zahra Clare Baker's family is planned to celebrate Zahra's
life, next week, Thursday, 7 P.M. - Drum Funeral Home Chapel (29th Avenue
Northeast) in Hickory, North Carolina. 

Patti Merritt (Funeral Home Office Manager)
"The service is open to the public, and will be held in a chapel that seats about 200."
"Burial plans have not yet been made."

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#48 [url]

Nov 26 10 9:37 PM

2010 - November 26 -

                                    TESTS EXPECTED BACK

Deputy Chief Clyde Deal (Hickory Police)
"The medical examiner has not released Zahra's remains as of Wednesday.
 
Police expect to receive the results of evidence sent for testing next week."

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#49 [url]

Nov 29 10 5:58 PM

2010 - November 24 - Hickory Daily Record requested access to search warrants in the
                                case.Neither Clerk of Superior Court Al Jean Bogle, or Superior Court
                                Judges were present at the courthouse who could render a decision.

Sealed warrants include:

1 warrant for Elisa Baker’s MySpace account

1 warrant for Elisa Baker's Facebook account

1 warrant for Elisa Baker's America Online email account

 

8 warrants for Elisa and Adam Baker’s house at 21 21st Avenue, NW,

Hickory, N.C.

 

The search warrants stem from Oct. 11-Oct. 29.


 2010 - November 29 - Media again tried to obtain copies of the search warrants.
                                   The District Attorney's Office filed a motion to keep the
                                   warrants sealed.

District Attorney Jay Gaither
"It’s important for the integrity of the case (keeping the warrants sealed).
“Nothing has changed since they were sealed.”
 

The Hickory Police Department asked for the search warrants to be sealed.

On each of the 11 search warrants, judges stated “the release of information

contained in said search warrant and its return will potentially undermine an

ongoing investigation or jeopardize the right of the state to prosecute a

defendant or defendants or jeopardize the rights of a defendant or defendants

to receive a fair trial.”

 

 

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#50 [url]

Dec 3 10 10:43 PM

2010 - December 2 - Released, 11 search warrants.
 
DETAILS FROM THE WARRANTS:
 
Elisa Baker showed "deception" in a polygraph test when asked if she knew of any
harm that came to Zahra.
 
Investigators found that Elisa Baker had a history of referrals to the Department of
Social Services for alleged abuse of her biological children. Caldwell County DSS
reported in July that Zahra got a black eye from her stepmother.
 
Zahra's hearing aids were found in Elisa Baker's jewelry box.

Burke County Sheriff's Office investigated a claim that Zahra Baker had been taken
to a house in Burke County and raped by two men there in mid-October. The warrants
said one of the men had a relationship with Elisa Baker.
 
In a statement to police, a "source" wrote that he had third-hand information that a
man named "Sammy" ... "had done something very bad and needed to leave town."
Police searched the home of Timothy Samuel "Sammy" Young and Lewis James

Young in Hilebran, looking for evidence of firearms, bodily fluids and indications that
Zahra Baker had been there.
 
Zahra Clare Baker was dismembered. The sections of her body were concealed in a bed
comforter and car cover. Then her remains were discarded like trash, into a trash bin behind
a grocery store.
 
Hickory Police Investigator was told by Elisa Baker's lawyer "Elisa Baker and her husband,
Adam Baker (Zahra's father) dumped a mattress and box springs at a trash dump in Granite
Falls. Elisa Baker & Adam Baker wrapped Zahra's prosthetic leg in a white trash bag and
threw it into an apartment dumpster in Hickory.
 
Elisa Baker reportedly told police there would be latex gloves and blood splatter in the
house and to search the bathtub drain. Investigators removed drain pipes and traps looking
for blood, they also removed sections of the wall where they believe there were blood splatters.

The amount of blood found was astonishing and a blood spatter expert had to be called in.


 
 

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#51 [url]

Dec 3 10 10:46 PM

2010 - December 2 - 3 - Memorial service for Zahra

Drum Funeral Home invited people to sign a register book which will be sent to
Zahra Clare Baker's biological mother in Australia.
 
The funeral home also showed a memorial video tribute to Zahra Clare Baker.

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#52 [url]

Dec 3 10 10:55 PM

2010 - December 3 - NEWS OF PLEA DEAL CUT FOR ELISA BAKER IN LATE OCTOBER
 
Regional District Attorney James Gaither Jr.
'A deal was struck with Elisa Baker, but I will not comment on the terms."
 
"Sources" have informed North Carolina Media outlets that "prosecutors agreed to take
the death penalty and life in prison off the table, they agreed not to charge Elisa Baker
with first-degree murder. If convicted, she would not face the death penalty or life in prison
without parole....if she would provide investigators with information about Zahra''s whereabouts.
Shortly after the deal was cut, police were led to Zahra's dismembered remains, her prosthetic
leg, and her mattress.
 

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#53 [url]

Dec 8 10 1:28 PM

                               PROSECUTOR: NO DEAL FOR ELISA BAKER
 
 
District Attorney James Gaither
"Reports of a deal that would spare (Elisa) Baker from the death penalty
or a life sentence are not true." 

"TV news reports incorrectly stated that I had removed the death penalty
and first-degree murder charges against Elisa Baker if she cooperated in
the investigation."
 
Elisa Baker could face capital punishment if she's found responsible for the
death of her stepdaughter.

 "If the investigation determines that Elisa Baker is not involved in the death
of Zahra Baker, she will not be charged. If, on the other hand, 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."

 

 
                                         MEN ACCUSED SPEAK OUT
 
James Young (former in-law of Elisa Baker - his brother was once married
to Elisa. James Young had also lived across the street from Elisa & Adam
and Zahra in Caldwell Co.)
 
"I've never done anything inappropriate with Zahra. It's aggravating being accused
of something like this. Zahra had never been in my house. The last time I saw her
was months ago in the spring or summer when we lived in the same mobile home
park. I often saw the Bakers in the mobile home park and spent time with them at
Christmas and birthday parties. Zahra was an outstanding, outgoing kid."
 
Police cleared me of any wrongdoing. I took a polygraph test and passed.  
I submitted to a cheek swab for a DNA test and allowed the police to search
my home. Police didn’t remove anything and haven't met with investigators since
October."

Observer reporter: "On his refrigerator was a photo of Zahra, smiling and hugging
Young. A second photo, created as a memorial after the girl went missing, was
titled "Sweet Zahra."

 Timothy "Sammy" Young (Cousin of James Young)
"I passed a polygraph test. The allegations that have been said are untrue
and that is all I have to say thanks." 

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#54 [url]

Dec 12 10 10:26 AM

2010 - December 7 - 15 new warrants filed.
 
Warrants remaining sealed:
Warrants which contain information on Department of Social Services' investigation concerning Elisa's three children (Brittany Proctor (Starbuck), Amber Fairchild and
Douglas Proctor) in Alexander, Cleveland, Lincoln, Gaston, Burke, Catawba and
Caldwell counties.

Other warrants contain:
Information on the Baker house at 21 Avenue, NW, in Hickory, North Carolina;
Cell phone records.

 
2010 - December 8 - Motion to seal 6 warrants.
 
Catawba County District Attorney's Office has filed a motion to keep
6 warrants sealed.
 
The warrants concern:
Medical data from Elisa Baker, including information from Grace Hospital in
Morganton.
 
Information from the social networking site (IMVU) where Elisa met Adam Baker..
 
2010 - December 13 - Hearing to determine whether 2 search warrants should be
                                 unsealed.
  
2010 - January 3 - Hearing on the motion is scheduled.

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#55 [url]

Dec 13 10 9:14 PM

2010 - December 13 - COURT HEARING CANCELLED
 
The court hearing scheduled for today was cancelled.
The motion filed for the hearing was withdrawn from the
court calendar. The warrants remain sealed.


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#56 [url]

Dec 13 10 9:33 PM

WBTV  Read the warrants: Group 1 | Group 2 | Group 3 | Group 4 
           (NOTE: Large pdf files)

"There are currently 11 unsealed search warrants which have been made available
to the public. One of the warrants included 121-pages which revealed some of the
most disturbing and gruesome details in this case. The warrant provided information
about Zahra's bones, blood and bodily liquids that could be found in the drains of the
Baker home."


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#57 [url]

Dec 17 10 7:54 PM

                                     FINDINGS DELIVERED TO DA'S OFFICE

2010 - December 17 -

 

Chief Tom Adkins (Hickory Police Dept.)

“Yesterday, 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."

 

"The investigation is ongoing, and additional information will be turned over to the

District Attorney's office as it is uncovered."
 

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#58 [url]

Jan 5 11 5:34 PM

2011 - January 4 - More than 200 previously sealed search warrants released.
                             Elisa Baker told Hickory police Zahra died on Sept. 24, 2010 -
                             more than two weeks before she was reported missing.

WARRANT -  November 8, 2010

Police investigators are told that an IMVU (Instant Messaging Virtual Universe)
(A social networking and gaming site which allows users to create three-dimensional
 avatars and communicate with each other) user had a conversation with Adam Baker
and Elisa Baker "regarding their involvement with doing a chainsaw massacre role-
playing" on September 22, 2010, which included Aaron Young.

 ( Elisa being investigated for bigamy with Aaron Young and Adam Baker). 

"It isn't clear from the document what the "chainsaw massacre role-playing" entailed."

Hickory Police Investigators sought records from Instant Messaging Virtual Universe
website on Elisa and Adam Baker and Aaron Young.

"Elisa and Young remained close and that she told Adam that Young was her brother."
"Pictures on the Facebook pages maintained by both Elisa and Young showed him
 with Zahra Baker. Obtaining Aaron Young's telephone records or telephone number
will likely provide information substantially related to this homicide investigation."


WARRANT - November 19, 2010
 
Elisa Baker told Hickory Police Investigators:

"On September 25, 2010, Adam Baker dismembered Zahra’s body and then disposed
of the body parts in various locations, including the Christie Road and Dudley Shoals
areas."

Police and Prosecutors sought records from "wireless communication providers"
for cell phone records and GPS for Elisa Baker and Adam Baker.

Also sought were records from "men Elisa Baker had been romantically involved with
before marrying Adam Baker, including Aaron Young."

Phone records and GPS showed investigators that Elisa Baker's phone
showed movement in the locations where Zahra's remains were located.
The records for Adam Baker showed investigators that his phone had
reflected no movement in those same locations.

WARRANTS

Police and Prosecutors sought Elisa Baker's medical records from several local
hospitals and records from at least seven county social service agencies, among
them, Caldwell, Gaston and Alexander counties.

The records are in regard to past allegations of abuse involving Elisa Baker and
her three biological children dating from 1999 onwards.


A report filed in July 2010 listed allegations that Elisa Baker had been physically
abusing Zahra Baker and had given her a black eye. The report was filed with the
Caldwell County DSS and then transferred to the Catawba County DSS.

WARRANTS - October & November
The house the Bakers were residing in at time of Zahra's death.

Investigators removed parts of the wall and floor; seized as evidence cameras
and a half dozen cell phones. Forensic evidence:  more than 30 blood swabs,;
tissue, hair samples, hearing aid parts, crutches, latex gloves, a knife and a
stun gun.

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#59 [url]

Jan 19 11 9:05 PM

2011 - January 18 - Tuesday - Grand Jury hands down an indictment of Bigamy
                               against Elisa Baker.
 
Elisa Baker was married in 1998, separated in May 2008, but did not obtain a divorce. Elisa married Adam Baker. A divorce was filed in August of 2009, more than a year after her
marriage to Baker.

Bigamy charges could result in a punishment of 10 years in prison.
The News & Observer Of Raleigh, N.C. notes that "convicted bigamists in the state
generally receive probation."
 
 
2011 - January 19 - This week, a logger working in the area where a fragment of bone
                              (identified as belonging to Zahra Clare Baker) were found, observes
                              a retrieves a briefcase containing a blanket or a piece of clothing
                              covered with dark stains.

                             Police say that from the state the briefcase is in, that it has been
                             in the woods for a "considerable amount of time."

In order to determine whether the briefcase or its contents are connected to Zahra's
case, it has been sent to the State Bureau of Investigation in Raleigh, N. C. to be
analyzed.

                                 COURT APPEARANCE

2011 - January 27 - Both Adam Baker and Elisa Baker are due in court on unrelated
                            charges.


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#60 [url]

Jan 26 11 9:15 PM

Hickory Record

"Zahra Baker’s death certificate was filed with the Catawba County Register of Deeds
office Tuesday. 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."

"The death certificate lists the manner of death as “Pending.” Time of death: “Unknown.”
The Medical Examiner’s Certificate of Death states that an autopsy was performed
but the findings were not available prior to the completion of the death certificate."

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