The Zahra Baker case took another strange twist Monday when letters purportedly written by Elisa Baker, the 10-year-old missing North Carolina girl’s stepmother, from her cell at the Catawba County jail surfaced for sale online and were made available to AOL News and the Charlotte Observer‘s news partner WCNC-TV. The letters seem to indicate that Elisa and Adam Baker, Zahra’s father, had nothing to do with the actual death of Zahra. However, they point to something “horrifying” happening after the child died.
“We didn’t really kill her but what he did after the fact is kinda horrifying,” one of the letters attests. “Makes me scared of him.”
Still, the letters remain unclear about “after the fact.” Most of the details of the Zahra Baker case have not been made public, but that “horrifying” act that occurred after they “didn’t really kill her” might have a lot to do with cadaver dogs reportedly alerting to human remains in both the Baker vehicles at their Hickory residence and on a wood chipper and mulch pile on a Burke County property where tree-trimming equipment owned by the company Adam Baker works for was stored.
The letters, if actually from Elisa Baker, also indicate the stepmother has become frustrated with being jailed and blames her predicament on her husband. She also states that the police already know where Zahra Baker is.
“So many missing kids,” the letter attests, “but Zahra isn’t missing, the cops know where she is and what he has done. That’s right what he has done. If I hadn’t admitted to that stupid note I’d be out in 3 weeks but no they kept pushing and he did that too.”
That “stupid note” refers to the ransom note Hickory Police found at the Baker residence on Oct. 9 that demanded $1 million for the return of the daughter of Mark Coffey, Adam Baker’s employer. Although a subsequent check proved that the Coffey family was intact and unharmed, Zahra Baker’s disappearance, which was reported hours later, was at first viewed as possibly connected. After her arrest on unrelated charges, Elisa confessed to writing the note. She was charged and later indicted for felony obstruction of justice for misleading a police investigation.
The day after her confession, three days after Zahra Baker was reported missing, Hickory Police announced that they were shifting from a missing person case to that of a homicide investigation.
The two letters, both handwritten, were posted on the website serialkillersink.com. Hickory Police have not been able to authenticate the letters thus far, but note that the letters contained mostly information already made available to the public, thus making their importance to the investigation uncertain.
What is not uncertain is the tone of the letters, both angry at the current circumstances of the writer and at her husband, whom the writer blames for being in jail.
“I have never been so angry over stuff as I am right now,” one letter says. “He knows what happened to Zahra and yet I’m the one in here, at least for now.”
The man who created the website, Eric Gein, told the Charlotte Observer that he received the letters last week after writing to Zahra Baker shortly after her arrest. Gein says he believes the letters to be authentic. He put the letters up for sale on his website. His asking price is $1,250 per letter.
Gein lives and operates his website out of Jacksonville, Florida. He says he has been writing murderers and serial killers since the mid-1990s. Eric Gein is not his real name and he refuses to divulge anything other than the pseudonym with which he writes and conducts business.
If authenticated, it is unclear what the letters might bring to the case. Authorities have been extremely reticent about the investigation, but it would seem that, given that investigators have yet to find the remains of Zahra Baker, the letters might be enough to charge both Elisa and Adam with, as gruesome as it may sound, tampering with a dead body.
No one has been charged with the actual disappearance of Zahra Baker.
Elisa remains in jail, indicted on a felony obstruction of justice charge. Adam Baker was arrested as well last Monday on unrelated charges, made bail, and was released from jail. He has since been evicted from the Bakers’ Hickory residence.
The letters surfaced a week after Zahra Baker’s prosthetic leg was found by the roadside at an illegal trash dump near a residence where Elisa Baker once lived in Caldwell County. The leg was later identified as belonging to the missing girl.
On Wednesday, investigators searching near where the prosthetic was found discovered what appeared to be a human bone. The potential evidence was sent to the Medical Examiner’s Office in Chapel Hill for further testing.
“Crime website claims it holds Elisa Baker letters,” CharlotteObserver.com