To say that the case of missing 10-year-old Zahra Baker has had its fair share of twists would be an understatement, but the story seems to have gotten a bit more convoluted as new evidence has been found and stepmother Elisa Baker, a person of interest since the second day (when authorities ascertained that Zahra probably was not the victim of a kidnapping), has finally decided to cooperate in the investigation.
According to WBTV in Charlotte, authorities acknowledged Tuesday that Elisa Baker had begun opening up to them on Sunday. They also said they had taken Elisa from her Catawba County (N.C.) jail cell and had her accompany them on at least two searches at or near residences where Baker once lived.
The searches and cooperation coincided with the arrest of Adam Baker early Monday morning. Picked up at a Charlotte international airport, supposedly there to pick up relatives from Australia, he had been asked to go back to Hickory for questioning. He was immediately arrested on unrelated charges stemming from outstanding warrants.
Investigators went to a former residence of Elisa’s Monday, but sources told WBTV that she never left the police SUV she was transported in. Police said they had searched at least two places Monday.
On Tuesday, investigators went to an area that had not been searched before and was near a residence where Elisa lived before Adam Baker moved to the United States. Investigators looked at a spot where trash was known to be dumped.
WBTV also reported that crews had returned to the Baker residence in Hickory and were searching the grounds, digging with a tractor and going through mulch piles.
Does it all mean that investigators finally know what happened to Zahra Baker?
But if Elisa is being cooperative, why would investigators need to go to several locations in order to procure evidence? Could she have forgotten — presuming that she actually was involved in Zahra’s disappearance — where she placed the child’s body? Or had she moved it several times? Or, far worse, had she dismembered the body and placed the components at various locations?
Or could she simply be leading investigators on wild goose chases in some twisted power play, having no intention of actually telling authorities where the child’s remains are?
Or could Elisa Baker be playing the same “I don’t know but they could have done this or put the body there” routine that was speculated that Adam Baker probably embarked upon following his arrest Monday morning?
Authorities said Tuesday that they had also recovered a mattress from their landfill search, one resembling the mattress Zahra Baker supposedly slept on and was replaced in the days before she was reported missing. Material collected from the mattress was being tested in hopes of finding a DNA match.
Although police have been rather tight-lipped about the case, they announced on Oct. 12, the third day of the investigation, that they would be treating the case as a homicide. The day before, Elisa Baker had confessed to writing a fake ransom note that had been found on the windshield of a Baker vehicle at the residence. Search warrants had picked up certain evidence and cadaver dogs had scented human remains in the Baker vehicles. To compound Elisa’s problems, investigators were finding it difficult to pin down the last time anyone had actually seen Zahra Baker.
Elisa Baker immediately became a person of interest.
Police announced that they would convene a special press conference Wednesday afternoon.
“Crews digging at Baker house; Press conference scheduled later today,” WBTV.com