As much as the Zahra Baker investigation is a story of mystery, it is also one about human loss. The mother of the missing 10-year-old spoke to the Australian press Friday for the first time since her daughter vanished. Emily Dietrich told the Seven Network that she, like the police in Hickory, North Carolina, believes that her daughter is dead.
“I don’t feel it,” she said in response to a question asking if she thought Zahra was still living.
She offered, “I think having any hope in me makes it hurts more, with what their finding and the way they’re saying she was treated.”
Zahra Baker was reported missing on Oct. 9 by her father, Adam. In a rush of events, the stepmother, Elisa Baker, was arrested on unrelated charges and quickly confessed to writing a ransom note that had been found on the Baker property. Relatives and former neighbors of Elisa told the media within days of the disappearance of Zahra’s mistreatment at the hands of her stepmother.
The missing person case turned to a homicide investigation three days after Zahra was reported missing. Police announced on Oct. 12 that they believed the child was dead and would conduct the investigation accordingly.
Emily Dietrich told Seven Network that she had just found her daughter online after searching for her for years.
“I never got to say goodbye, I never got to say hello,” she said. “Why would it happen that I would find her and three days later this would happen?”
Dietrich had lost custody of Zahra after she suffered post-natal depression. But she said she had never given up trying to get back at least partial custody in all those nine years of separation.
Adam and Zahra Baker moved to the United States in 2008 after Adam met Elisa on the Internet. In the meantime, Dietrich lost track of her daughter.
Hickory Police had reached out to Emily Dietrich in an effort to get Zahra Baker’s medical records from her years in Australia. A survivor of bone cancer, Zahra had lost a leg and been outfitted with a prosthesis in 2005. Those medical records helped authorities identify the prosthetic leg they found on Oct. 26 at an illegal “dump” site not far from a residence where Elisa Baker once lived. They matched the serial number on the leg with that on record. The same day, they confirmed a positive identification, Elisa Baker was indicted for felony obstruction of justice for writing the bogus and misleading ransom note.
Elisa Baker remains in jail on a $92,200 bond. She is considered a person of interest.
Police have also found what appears to be a human bone in the same area where the prosthetic leg was discovered. The bone was sent off for DNA testing and analysis.
“I don’t want them to find more because it will tell the story I don’t want to hear, but I want them to find more so we can out an end,” Emily Dietrich said, revealing her conflicted feelings over the loss of her daughter.
Adding that she couldn’t “explain the anger, the hurt,” the distraught mother declared. “He made no right to do any of it, to keep her from me.”
Adam Baker has not been charged in the disappearance of his daughter.
“Mother of Zahra Baker speaks out,” AAP via Yahoo.com