November 3rd, 2010
07:44 PM ET

Bone found in search for missing North Carolina girl

Search teams have discovered a bone that may be related to the disappearance of 10-year-old Zahra Baker, police in North Carolina said Wednesday.

The bone will be sent to the medical examiner's office in Chapel Hill for further examination, the Hickory Police Department said.

In the past week, the Hickory Police Department said it has recovered key pieces of evidence in the search for the 10-year-old cancer survivor, who was reported missing by her stepmother on October 9.

Zahra Baker was reported missing by her stepmother October 9.

Police on Monday confirmed that a prosthetic leg found last week in a brushy area off a road belonged to Zahra, who lost her leg to bone cancer when she was 5.

Also last week, employees at an environmental landfill found a mattress thought to have belonged to Zahra. Investigators believe the mattress was disposed of days before Zahra was reported missing, and hoped to use it to reinforce the timeline of her disappearance.  DNA tests on the mattress are being performed.

The discovery of the bone also comes two days after a Catawba County grand jury indicted Zahra's stepmother, Elisa Baker, on an obstruction of justice charge related to the search for Zahra.

The charge stems from a fake ransom note that authorities say Baker admitted to writing to distract police from the search for Zahra.

Zahra's father, Adam Baker, is in custody on charges of submitting worthless checks and failing to appear in court.

Police earlier acknowledged that he faced bad-check charges, which are unrelated to the disappearance of his daughter. But they did not initially arrest him, as he had been helping authorities in their search.

The disappearance of Zahra, who was hearing impaired and had persevered through numerous health battles, has made international headlines.

Baker and his daughter, who are from Australia, moved to the United States after he met his future wife, Elisa Baker, online.

Meanwhile Wednesday, crews continued to search for evidence near the lake where Zahra's prosthesis was found, CNN affiliate WBTV reported.

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Filed under: Crime • Justice • Missing Children • North Carolina
soundoff (322 Responses)
  1. evans12

    you are STUPID!!!!

    November 4, 2010 at 9:05 am | Report abuse |
  2. Brenda

    Poor thing. She looks like a sweet little girl. No one deserves this... especially from people who are supposed to love you. I am certain they will rot behind bars.

    November 4, 2010 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
  3. N@tTurn3r

    Being a kid should never this awful. Part of me is glad her suffering is over, but it sucks that she lived such a miserable 10 years. I hate stories like these.

    November 4, 2010 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
    • John777

      I am quite sure she would have chose to continue to live then die even with her condition

      November 4, 2010 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
    • greg

      amen

      November 4, 2010 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
    • DL

      I believe the suffering she is talking about is the abuse from the stepmother. It is tragic that her life is over, and you are right in that she definitely would have wanted to live; although, how many suicide stories have you heard about lately that involve some sort of abuse/bullying? I'm sure justice will take its course in this case.

      November 4, 2010 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
  4. alumette

    few partly unrelated comments. Where is the order on that board? Willy-nilly ? new moderators needed.

    November 4, 2010 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
  5. dewey

    Imagine having to fight for your life against the people who should be protecting you!! This is what the death penalty is for!!!!

    November 4, 2010 at 9:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Jennifer Lee

      Things similar to this happen every single day. Just because it doesn't make the news, doesn't mean it's not happening. People always want to give their thoughts and prayers to these children that they read about in the news (as it should be) but let's go one step further, what about giving our thoughts to those we don't read about that have equally traumatic endings. I have anger toward the family members that knew she was being abused, but cared more about not causing drama or being involved, then they did about this poor girl and now she's dead. That, unfortunately, happens everyday also.

      November 4, 2010 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Kathy Reading

      JenniferLee ~ You post "I have anger toward the family members that knew she was being abused, but cared more about not causing drama or being involved, then they did about this poor girl and now she's dead. " The family did intervene on multiple occassions by contacting the police and social services. The problem is with the Child Protective Services in this country becuase their only goal is to keep children with their biological parents. So very sad.

      November 4, 2010 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Todd A

      @Kathy Reading, I wish i could say I agree with you..........but I don't. The facts of the case are that her aunt and other family members stood by and did nothing when this poor girl was being abused.

      As far as Child Services, it probably does vary from state to state, but here in Illinois they aren't so concerned with your parental rights.

      November 4, 2010 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anne

      Jenniffer: The family members told social services about the abuses, and social services did nothing.
      The family should push harder I guess, fight for custody of the little girl, let the mother in Australia know about the abuses. I didn't hear much about the bio mother, only that she lives in Austrlia.
      These couple deserve death penalty, I don't know if exists in NC.

      November 4, 2010 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dano

      NC DOES have the death penalty and they're not afraid to use it!!!

      November 4, 2010 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • JK71

      Well said!

      November 4, 2010 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • NYPrincessTt

      @Kathy Reading- I agree with you that social services or, child protective services, or department of youth and families, or whatever it is called in this area, is partly to blame. They do seem to want to keep the child with their family if at all possible. Let's not forget, though, that if they remove the child from the home, they have to put them somewhere. With the overwhelming lack of acceptable foster families, this can pose a problem. If you have the room in your heart and home and the means to be a foster parent, please contact your local department of human services and find out what you need to do to become a foster parent. The more available homes, the more likely children can be removed from these types of situations before something like this happens.

      November 4, 2010 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bearguy

      Dano, NC does have the death penalty. However, under current state legislation, it's unlikely it will ever be carried out again. Sure, the courts can sentance a person to death, it just won't be carried out.

      It doesn't have any thing to do with democrat or republican ( our current governor is a republican) It has do wether or not the state supreme court deems it as cruel or unusual punishment.

      I

      November 4, 2010 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • MrsFizzy

      Bearguy, when you say "Our current governor is a republican" then you can't be from NC – surprise!!

      November 4, 2010 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pamela Burgess

      What I want to know is where is her natural mother. Is she diseased?

      November 5, 2010 at 1:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Pamela Burgess

      If there is another Zhara or the like out there please send her my way and I will give her amazing love, home, education, but especially a home filled with unconditional love.

      November 5, 2010 at 1:56 am | Report abuse |
    • NOMINATE ZAHRA BAKER AS CNN HERO

      Dewey – I am in 100% agreement with you.

      November 5, 2010 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joan

      Where is this kids birth mother???? Not even a comment?? Plenty of people would love to have such a beautiful little girl to love. How could ANYONE hurt a little kid, especially one that has been through so much.Deaf, can't hear without hearing aids, prosthetic leg, can't run. How could they be mean to somebody like that? These people (the father and the stepmother) deserve the death penalty.And the people and DSS that knew about it, shame on them they are guilty too.

      November 5, 2010 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      It is a dire shame that very basis of the basic foundation of the family has failed here. In which case a child has been killed, for no apparent reason other than parental failure to the child's well being. Shame on them for that, there is a lot help available from the services the parents own tax dollars as well as others in the state have funded to prevent these criminal activities. Communities need to come together and work together to avoid these crimes. Get to know their neighbors and seek help if required, there is no shame in that if it saves a life. Where there is a will there is way, we can prevent this through education and the personal desire to help our neighbors.

      November 5, 2010 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anne

      This is one of the saddest stories, I've heard in a very long time. This little girl battled "adult" situations in only 5 years of life and to be done away with by these two people....well we know where they belong. I'm soooo sorry this happened to you little Zahra....try to RIP little one!

      November 6, 2010 at 9:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Victoria Williams

      Dewey, I agree with you 100%.........

      November 14, 2010 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Victoria Williams

      I can not imagine anything like this happening to my kids, it would absolutely kill me. These ppl that did this should be tortured till they died. Im not a cruel person but this would be my breaking point. If her dad didnt want her then he could have left the child with her mother, unless he killed her too then ran to the United States to avoid being caught. This is soooo sad to think about. God is holding that little girl right now and she is finally happy…… Thank God for that much atleast……

      November 14, 2010 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  6. Suz

    Yikes – apparently, I missed some drama here. Probably just as well.

    Anyway, I don't have anything really new to add to what anyone's said above – just wanted to convey once again how this story breaks my heart. Poor kiddo. 🙁 Hope the perps (probably the parents, but whatever, we'll see) get the hardest sentence allowable by law.

    November 4, 2010 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
    • booboobear

      Anyone who kills kids, should get the death penalty. How can child-killers live with themselves?!

      November 4, 2010 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
  7. PCola Vet

    This has just got to be one of the saddest stories this year. Those responsible really need the fooooking book thrown at them.

    November 4, 2010 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
  8. Katincal

    What kind of people would do such a horrible thing to a child who has suffered so much already. Please prosecute the offenders and give them the death penalty. Show no mercy as they had none for Zahra.

    November 4, 2010 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
  9. Lu

    I don't understand, has she explained WHY she wrote that ransom note in the first place? What would be her motive in trying to get the police off track with Zahra's disappearance?? I check on this everyday hoping they've solved the case but it just seems to get more and more sketchy as the days go by...

    November 4, 2010 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Kathy Reading

      No, she has not explained why she did what she did. She's very cryptic in her messages (e.g. Child is not dead, etc.) What is strange is that they report that she is "cooperating with police"...... not sure what that means. She's probably trying to cut a deal if she testifies against the father. Hope they both hang slowly....

      November 4, 2010 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Ann

      I also check on this every day hoping they find her. I know it would just be her little body, but just the thought of someone dumping a child like trash turns my stomach. She lived through hell and deserves a proper burial to rest in peace. I am sure there is so much we don't know that the authorities in charge of the investigation do, but it's been almost a month since she was reported missing. The stepmom has been in jail most all of this time. We know she wrote a fake ransom note, and yet still no body found.

      November 4, 2010 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
    • carolelust

      it said that the step mom wanted to detere the police from looking for the child and get them off that track and onto the track of ransome....seems to me that if that is , in fact, the reason the step mom gave for writing the note then it is obvious she doesn't want any remains found...sooooo wouldn't this be a good cause for an arrest? Just wondering!

      November 4, 2010 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Desiree

    It's so horrible that anything happened to her. To survive cancer, only to be hurt by family is tragic. As a mother, I cannot fathom how anyone could ever do anything to harm their child. I can only pray that through some form of miracle that she may be alive. And if she is, I wish I could meet her and give her a hug and tell her that there are people out there who love her without knowing her, who admire her strength, and would give anything to show her what true family and love is.

    November 4, 2010 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
    • meb83

      whats even worse? the "step mother" was a woman the father met online and then married. I'd like some back story on how well he really knew her before entrusting her to be allowed near his obviously wonderful and strong daughter. God Bless the Babies of the world, All ages. We're all someone's baby.

      November 4, 2010 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Anne

      Desiree...it is very pretty what you wrotte, we hope she is alive and can have new parents who love her, she was lot of carisma cute girl on cameras. This story makes me cry. God bless Zahra.

      November 4, 2010 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  11. PARROT

    WHAT WOULD YOU EXPECT FROM THOSE AUSSIES?.....THEY ARE WEIRD PEOPLE DOWN UNDER !

    November 4, 2010 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
  12. Jennifer Justice

    Every time somethiing horrible like this happens, people start spouting that there's no God and if there is, he must be awful to have let this happen. If you don't read the Bile, stf up about it because your ignorant. I will say it one more time: God does not make bad things happen. We do! The Bible states that suffering is part of the human experience and there will be suffering. There will always be war and talk of war because that's how WE are. God is there to get us through suffering. For those that persevere, there is a special place in Heaven. Beleive what you want, but that is what the Bible says. I tire of people saying they dont' understand and pointing blame. If you don't understand, it's because you don't read the only book that explaiins it all. And if you don't want to read it, so be it, but then don't make uneducated guesses and spout rhetoric.

    November 4, 2010 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Jennifer Lee

      So you're attempting to force YOUR personal opinions about God, and telling those who don't believe what you do to stfu. How very open-minded of you.

      November 4, 2010 at 10:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Suz

      Pretty sure nobody should be telling anybody else what they should or shoudn't be believing in. It's personal business. Believers need to stop pushing their faith on people, and nonbelievers need to stop telling believers they're full of it. Respect is a two-way street, kids.

      November 4, 2010 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Turtle Soup

      I find it hilarious that you spelled “Bible” as “bile”. I find it almost as funny that you used the word “your” instead of “you’re” while calling people ignorant.

      Dur dur dur

      November 4, 2010 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Irene

      Jennifer:

      The bible is a group of fables that was asembled by a PAGAN!!! Yes, the Emperor Constintine, who was a pagan, was tired of all the infighting being done by christians so he organized one sect, gave it a storybook and called it the holy roman empire. He did convert to christianity on his deathbed, to please his mother. The bible is a sham and your 'religion' is a business enterprise.

      November 4, 2010 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Buster Bloodvessel

      JJ, so it's ok when babies die? Thanx, I wondered about that. Say Hi to Jesus for us.

      November 4, 2010 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Seedenbetter

      You deluded imbecile! You can't even imagine that others do not accept your bronze age text of myths written by sheep herders as some ind of truth, do you? Your bible (bile..lol) is nothing but garbage. We view this book of fables the same way you view the Koran or book of Mormon. Shocking I know. You see, that's how brainwashed you've been all your life.

      It's the same as "if you believe fairies cause rain then every time it rains is proof of fairies".

      November 4, 2010 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Sally

      Just some clarification – Bible has two b's in its spelling, you are = you're, not your, and believe, not "beleive". Next time you want to call people out for being ignorant, why not use YOUR spell check before you post YOUR comments? BTW, my choice to believe in God is a personal choice – I have never read the Bible and likely never will. Life experiences have taught me what real faith is and one of those experiences is the discovery that only the truly ignorant feel justified in telling the rest of us what we should and shouldn't believe. Oh yeah – this is actually a news story about the probable death of a child at the hands of the two people in the world she should have been able to trust the most – its not really an appropriate arena for "Bible-thumpers" (yeah, I said it!) to be spouting off about what the "Good Book" has to say. Besides, if you want to discuss real rhetoric, then just go ahead and pick up your beloved Bible.

      November 4, 2010 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Ian

      Your misspelling of the Bible to read Bile is a superb Freudian slip, there is no God period!Most of the harm in this world is of religion.
      You all have faith in God, and then say he exists...you can't have it both ways. Faith is belief in the absence of fact! You only pray there is a God.
      I hope you emerge from your ignorance.

      November 4, 2010 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
    • meb83

      ummm, i dont recall this being a posting about religion.... I recall this being a heart breaking story about a poor horribly mistreated child, who, correct me if i'm wrong, needs help (dead or alive) You have no right to judge others and their beliefs, and this is NOT the place for it. Shame on you. All of you. For picking here to be the place to discuss your religious beliefs (or lack of) How incredibly inappropriate of ALL of you!!

      November 4, 2010 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • NYPrincessTt

      STFU? How very christian of you. Try, love thy neighbor as thy self, which does not include any kind of disclaimer pertaining to what thy neighbor may or may not believe!

      November 4, 2010 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • MrsFizzy

      "Stf up"...that's some way to witness, sister! Even if the people you're speaking to would have listened to what you were saying – you haven't exactly changed any minds there.

      November 4, 2010 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • StudyB4USpeak

      JJ, I also study the Bible and, while I agree that many of the comments here come from people who are ignorant about the actual contents of the book...probably through no fault of their own...I think that you may also be in that same boat. If you are a student of the Bible, it should be noted that there is nothing, good OR evil, that the creator does not have a hand in. Isaiah the 45th chapter actually says "I am (god) and there is NONE BESIDE ME. I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I (the LORD) do all these things." It is fairy tale thinking to believe that only good comes from the creator, and all bad comes from "Somewhere Else". If the god that you believe in is not capable of controlling that which he creates or of participating only in miracles and then disappears when something bad happens...he is a scary god indeed!

      November 4, 2010 at 7:23 pm | Report abuse |
  13. verinicia

    part of being a child is having fun in your childhood i hope dat the ppl who killed sarah go to jail and receive the death penalty... poor sarah

    November 4, 2010 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
  14. Tbabe

    Zahra is probably an angel watching all this unfold; in a better place. What hell her life must have been here on earth.... My heart breaks for her and countless others who have gone on before her............

    November 4, 2010 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
  15. Jennifer Lee

    It breaks my heart to know that this could have been prevented. If only the family had stepped up when it mattered, this situation would have played out so differently.

    November 4, 2010 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Kathy Reading

      Jennifer Lee ~ The family intervened on multiple occassions....... the problem is with Child Protective Services.

      November 4, 2010 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
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