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. Turtle Soup

    Another reason I am Agnostic – I could never believe in a being that would allow this to happen to an innocent child. What type of God do you people worship?

    I know the real mother lives in Australia, but how much is she in the picture? How did she not know the atrocities that were happening to her child? Did she and just not care? Why is she not here now? Is she an uncaring monster too?

    November 4, 2010 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Suz

      I made a reply to this, but it didn't post. Weird.

      Anyway, leaving your comments about religion to the side (because they have nothing to do with ANYTHING), you do bring up a good point about Zahra's biological mother. Not too much has been said about her – at least not that I've heard.

      November 4, 2010 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
    • diane

      I have wondered about that also. Was she an unfit mother and that's why the father had custody? It sound like no one wanted this poor child.

      November 4, 2010 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
    • MrsFizzy

      Still don't know about the mother...you'd think she'd at least have been in the press saying something. I know the case has gotten attention in Australia too. Probably we can't depend on CNN for that. NONE of the adults in her life sound like "Fit" anythings!!

      November 4, 2010 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jade A.

    What a shame for this lovely young child. I am so sorry she had such an awful life here in the USA. I have heard before coming here she was very happy with her grandmother in Australia. When I see her freckled smiling face I become very sad. At such a young age she was able to overcome her health problems only to be beaten down by an unplanned death. I hope & pray the person or persons who caused her death are found & prosicuted at the top of the line & suffer remorce for the rest of their lives. Zahra, God Bless your soul. You are loved by the public if not your family.

    November 4, 2010 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
  3. Marcia

    "For those who believe No proof is necessary. For those who don't believe No proof is possible"...Joseph Dunninger

    If you believe in God, Zahra IS resting in God's arms, in a better place". If you don't believe in a supreme being, I'm fairly certain you can agree that Zarah is no longer on thie earth. Her father and step-mommie deserve the full and swift punishment that the State of North Carolina and mete out.

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

      That quote must be from a fundie xtian.

      November 4, 2010 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Some_Truth

      "For those who believe No proof is necessary. For those who don't believe No proof is possible"...Joseph Dunninger

      An all-knowing and all-powerful "God" would know *exactly* what would be sufficient proof for each one of us; and an all-loving one would gladly provide that proof.

      November 4, 2010 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
  4. diane

    I hope they find this little girl's body so she can at least be buried. As for the parents, they need to be charged with murder. If they are both charged, you can bet they will turn on each other and the truth will come out. People who do violence or allow violence against their own children should spend the rest of their lives in prison. It is time for this country to stand up for the most innocent of it's citizens.

    November 4, 2010 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
  5. Judybee

    Maybe I missed it somewhere along the reporting of this tragedy, but where is the biological mother? I know she lived with her grandmother in Australia and was very happy there. It just breaks my heart to see that precious little face – always with a smile, and think about what she must have gone through in her short lifetime. Where does evil like this come from in someone who could harm – not only ANY child, but your own blood??

    November 4, 2010 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
    • SCbeachmom

      Here is an article from my local paper about her mother
      http://www.thesunnews.com/2010/11/05/1794915/missing-aussie-girls-mom-thinks.html

      November 5, 2010 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
  6. Chopsgurl1

    I hope they find out wat happened to her, cuz her story breaks my heart I cant see how anyone could hurt their child or any child for that matter! I also think her mother that wrote the letters and ransom note should stay in jail cuz she had a helpin hand in it by writing the ransom note!

    November 4, 2010 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
  7. walpurgis

    Justice will never be had for Zahra; true justice would be administering the harsh punishment that the murderer(s) gave her but the best our society can do is the death penalty. While waiting for that sentence to be carried out, the guilty will sit for 20 years in relative comfort (usually away from general prison population), have meals prepared for them, be provided clothing and recreation at taxpayer expense while filing appeals to overturn their conviction and/0r sentences. True justice would be putting the convicted guilty directly into general prison population–prisoners do a better job of providing real justice than our laws do.

    We need stronger laws to apply harsher punishment to anyone convicted of abusing a child, murdering a child, abusing a child's corpse, etc. I've been demanding this from my state's lawmakers for years and what I hear from them is a deafening silence like that experienced by Zahra.

    November 4, 2010 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  8. Ron

    The poor kid never had a chance with the people she lived with. If any of you out there are tired of your kids, just turn them over to your county. You and they will be much better off while you both start a new life.

    November 4, 2010 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
  9. Erica

    WHAT is wrong with these people???????? The dad – "Father of the Year." The "step-mom" – you are a horrible human being. May you live with guilt the rest of your pathetic lives. Ish.

    November 4, 2010 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
  10. jane

    I wonder if they are questioning the parents , unuogh and i cant believe the father is not in jail and has no charges to keep him their. Since the very start i knew he had something to due with it , its obvious it all started with that 911 call he made .the fact the police couldn't even establish a time line .too me it doesn't matter who wrote the random note , just means the just have more against the step mom right now . seems as thou he getting away with it ,free to Rome.the fact that he knew about the abuse and did nothing this is a fact . cps and neighbors shouldn't have needed to intervene because she had a father..... that dint count for nothing .who knows how involved in her disappearance he was ,his character is just as shady as stepmother he met her online and was apart of the Gothic bull to , if anybody read her my space not that it matters . he got the same charges as her , what sticks out to me is the assault with a deadly weapon charge. What type of caring father moves their child away from everything she knows, after what she had been through to live in another country with a woman she barley knew . that he barley new.The grandmother seemed to be the main caregiver of the child , its seems as thou the stepparent replaced grandma . as far as caring for the child .Zahra had medical insurance in her native country , wear as in states they had to get charity . The mother abandoned this child , if she hadn't maybe she wouldn't have been in her father life at all who knows. someone who loves a child wouldn't allow it to get abuse or harmed .so what does this all say about this man ? he had no emotion in his voice at all during 911 call he was even making excuses for not checking on his own daughter , during the fire . This child was clearly disabled , she could not hear hardly at all with out her hearing aids and had a prosthetic leg and was only 10 years old . he said she never came out of her room endless she needed something , then laughing a little bit , as he said ya know shes brooding ? i guessing he was trying to say she was going through puberty like as if she was all grown up ? nice excuse , not. he stated about the ransdom note during the call as well during that fire which he had called about previously , a concerned father would have at least looked in his ten year old disabled child room to make sure she was safe . then he also said during the call he and his wife slept in course of the ordeal in the morning fire . then woke up at 2;oopm in the after noon. then he reports her missing theirs no time line ! T his man is just as guilty to me as the step monster . h e is free .
    I just hope the full truth comes out and both of them rot .T hey need to question this man , i haven't heard anything about them questioning about the abuse of his daughter to him or anything .t he main focus is step mom , She needs to be found .I hope the law makes a REAL good example outs these 2 people .more importantly then even them being punished , people need to think how can we as society can stop all this horrid things what can be done .these problems with our system to be has a lot to due with it all . we need to step up . yeah sure it the abuse was reported . the family members should have taken a stand against her parents something drastic. We should take responsibility to help children who cant make their own choices . It not society fault people due this but when we know of it and don't due everything we can that is horrid.
    as far as god is concerned . we have this thing called free will with out it were mind less robots . we have good and bad in us were balanced beings . god can not control what we, due only we can . As we cant not control what others due but we can control our selves with , compassion, a little wisdom , a sacrifice we can do good in the world . god doesn't control , its not his style, for those Christians, Jesus was a teacher , he tried to point us to the light side of life , he was made to endure pain and suffering as we are all can be subject to . he dint have to , but he did this was his sacrifice. IN my humble opion . to be a christian is someone who chooses the light side the best he or she can . lives their faith everyday , to me going to church doesn't make someone christian. jesus dint just hang out in a temple all day . He dint just preach to , or running around condemning people . he lived out his purpose humbly.He made a difference in people lives . as Christians its our faith that drives us to follow the wisdom of god .This to me is how god does his work . not just in creation. Theyll know we are christians by our love . too each thier own . take it as a grain of salt.

    November 4, 2010 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
  11. jimboe

    So dod the father have something to do with this or not? None of the stories seem to speculate and I saw a statement he made where he started crying and seemed very concerned for the return of his daughter. I felt horrible for him, but now I wonder if he knew or did it himself? The wife is obviously part of the murder, but is he?

    November 4, 2010 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
    • jimboe

      These boards are all messed up. How does my post end up here when I just wrote it?

      November 4, 2010 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  12. Tricia, AZ

    I am hoping through Mydocondrial DNA testing, they find out, this is Zahra, if not, another case of someone missing will be solved.

    November 4, 2010 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  13. SmartBlondie

    When, oh when, will you people stop using someone else's tragedy as your religious or atheistic soapbox? I have said this before – you are as bad as the people who picket funerals. Please find the appropriate website to discuss your opinions – there are plenty available.

    November 4, 2010 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Justamom

    Horrible, heartbreaking story. I've spent the last four years watching my girl walk through some pretty awful medical issues, and I consider every minute I have with her to be a gift beyond measure. To read about "parents" who would throw their daughter away...words fail. Unfortunately, just because your child has extra challenges, doesn't mean you're automatically a better parent. People tend to put parents of special-needs kids on a pedestal, when really, you may need a lot of help to deal with the stress. Kiddos like Zahra are at greater risk for abuse, because the stress in the family heightens any potential for abuse in the first place. It doesn't help that your whole support system often changes, and your family can become more isolated. Add in cagey parents like these who apparently know how to keep the system one step behind, and it's a sad, sad situation.

    November 4, 2010 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
  15. meadowmuffin

    Mohamad, God, Bible,faries making it rain...who the frig cares what a person believes...This is about a murdered child...It is time people start taking action against the abuse of children. Also if any of you bible naysayers ever took the time to read the bible you may find it has some good advice on how to handle people who murder children...it is better that a mill stone be placed about his neck and he be tossed to the river....seemes pretty fitting to me...

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