Bone Found in Search for Missing N.C. Girl

This May 2010 photo shows Zahra Baker, 10, getting a hearing aid at an event at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

This May 2010 photo shows Zahra Baker, 10, getting a hearing aid at an event at Charlotte Motor Speedway.  (AP/File)

Authorities in North Carolina are working to determine whether a bone recovered in Caldwell County belongs to a 10-year-old girl who was reported missing nearly a month ago. 

Police in Hickory, N.C., said Wednesday that the bone is being sent to the state medical examiner's office to see if it's linked to Zahra Baker, a bone cancer survivor who was reported missing by her father on Oct. 9. 

In a statement obtained by, investigators said the bone was recovered in neighboring Caldwell County, where the family lived until mid-September.

On Monday, the police department said an artificial left leg found in western North Carolina belonged to Baker, who lost her own leg to bone cancer. Police said the serial number on the leg recovered last Wednesday matched medical records that detectives collected from the girl's native Australia.

Police said a scanner was used to pull the serial number from a transponder inside the leg. Authorities released no other details, saying only that investigators continue to search the family's home in Hickory for additional evidence.

Authorities say they believe the girl is dead. No one is charged in her disappearance.

Searchers found the leg at a home where Zahra's stepmother once lived, Hickory Police Maj. Clyde Deal said last week. Deal said that the family lived at several locations in the county and that he wasn't sure how long ago they occupied that house. Authorities have said that the stepmother, Elisa Baker, is cooperating with the investigation.

The girl's stepmother, 42, is jailed on an obstruction of justice charge. Police say she admitted writing a bogus ransom note found at the scene of a fire in the family's backyard on the day Zahra was reported missing. A Catawba County grand jury indicted her on the charge on Monday.

Adam and Elisa Baker told police they had last seen Zahra in her bed at their home in Hickory, about 50 miles northwest of Charlotte. But law enforcement officials have said they don't believe that story.

The Associated Press contributed to this report