The search for missing 10-year-old Zahra Baker will enter its fifth week Saturday. Although the investigation focused on the possible homicide aspect of the case after various pieces of evidence were collected and Elisa Baker, Zahra’s stepmother, confessed to writing a bogus ransom note that misled authorities, Hickory Police have continued to search for the missing little girl and/or her remains. On Friday, according to the Hickory Daily Record, line searches were performed in Caldwell County in the area where Zahra Baker’s prosthetic leg was found on Oct. 26 and where what may have been a human bone was found on Thursday.
While searchers spread out to scour the countryside in an area that is a known illegal dumping area near where Elisa Baker once lived, the bone evidence remained at the North Carolina Bureau of Investigation, where it has been undergoing DNA collection testing since Thursday. Once the process is complete, the bone will be sent to the state Medical Examiner’s Office for further testing.
The decision was made to send the bone sample to the SBI (State Bureau of Investigation) on Thursday, according to Capt. Thurman Whisnant of the Hickory Police Department, to hasten the process of evidence collection and identification. Although it was previously reported that the bone was delivered to the state Medical Examiner’s Office, Whisnant noted that, since DNA material collection was a quicker process than bone tests, it was decided that the SBI should get the sample first.
“Obviously, we believe it may be (a human bone) because we have had people tell us it is consistent with a human bone, but we have no confirmation on that,” Whisnant said.
Whisnant also confirmed that the Hickory Police were looking into a couple letters purported to have been written by Elisa from her Catawba County jail cell to an Eric Gein, a man who runs a serial killer memorabilia website.
“We are checking into the validity of the letters, but right now our biggest priority is the continuation of our search efforts,” he said.
The letters appeared on the website serialkillersink.com as pieces of inmate collectibles. The asking price for the letters was $1,250 per letter. Gein spoke with the Charlotte Observer, stating that he believed the letters to be authentic.
The writer of the letters wrote that neither she nor her husband — Adam Baker, Zahra’s father — had “really killed” the 10-year-old, but added that what her father did “after the fact is kinda horrifying.” The letters, written from an angry and frustrated viewpoint, also attested that the police knew where Zahra was, that Adam Baker knew what he had done, and bemoaned the writer’s fate for having confessed to writing that “stupid note.”
The “stupid note” resulted in an indictment by a Grand Jury on Monday. That same day, investigators revealed that the prosthetic leg found in Caldwell County belonged to Zahra Baker.
Zahra was born in Australia and was a survivor of bone cancer, which took part of her leg and caused damage to her ears. She and her father had moved to the United States in 2008 after he met Elisa, his future wife, on the Internet. The little girl was last seen by someone outside her father and stepmother on Sept. 25. She was reported missing by her father on Oct. 9.
“SBI runs DNA test on bone while search continues,” DailyRecord.com