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Crime & Courts

Police Return to Area Where Prosthetic Leg Found in Search for Missing North Carolina Girl

  • Zahra Baker at ceremony

    The scattered remains of Zahra Baker, a 10-year-old North Carolina girl, were found last November. (AP)

  • Zahra Baker with prosthetic leg

    Zahra Baker (AP)

Authorities are scouring a brushy area of North Carolina where investigators found a prosthetic leg believed to belong to a missing 10-year-old girl. 

Hickory Police Maj. Clyde Deal told that a team of investigators returned Thursday to an area of Caldwell County where searchers recovered an artificial leg consistent to the one worn by Zahra Baker.

Zahra, a bone cancer survivor who used a prosthetic leg and hearing aids, was reported missing more than two weeks ago. Authorities believe the girl is dead. 

Police sources have confirmed that the prosthetic leg was found in brush on Tuesday. The leg was not buried, authorities said, and was recovered in an area where the girl's stepmother, Elisa Baker, used to live. 

Authorities declined to say who tipped them off about the leg, telling that "investigative leads" led them to the area. 

Zahra was reported missing by her father, Adam Baker, on Oct. 9, a few hours after authorities responded to a fire in the Bakers' backyard.

Police said Elisa Baker, 42, confessed to writing a fake ransom note that was found at the scene of the fire on the same day her stepdaughter was reported missing. She has been charged with felony obstruction of justice.

Deal said police are communicating with the woman "through her attorneys."

Zahra's father, meanwhile, was freed from jail on Thursday after posting bond on charges unrelated to his daughter's disappearance.

Baker was arrested Monday on charges of assault with a deadly weapon, failure to return rental property, writing worthless checks and other charges.

Deal said Thursday that up to 30 law enforcement agents have returned to the site where the leg was found to search for more clues in the case. 

"We're working it as diligently as we did from day one," he said in an interview. 

Investigators are also testing DNA from a mattress found at a Caldwell County landfill to see if it belongs to Zahra.'s Cristina Corbin and The Associated Press contributed to this report 





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