Zahra got sick and died naturally, relative of stepmother says - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Zahra got sick and died naturally, relative of stepmother says

Zahra at Camp Quality (Source: Townsville Bulletin) Zahra at Camp Quality (Source: Townsville Bulletin)
Zahra Baker (l) and Adam Baker (r) Zahra Baker (l) and Adam Baker (r)
Elisa Baker Elisa Baker
Zahra Baker (Source: MySpace) Zahra Baker (Source: MySpace)

By Steve Ohnesorge - bio l email

NEWTON, NC (WBTV) – Newly released court documents indicate that Zahra Baker may have died September 24, 2010, more than two weeks before she was reported missing by her stepmother and father. 

That revelation -- along with a claim by Elisa Baker that Zahra's father dismembered the girl -- was contained in more than 200 pages of previously sealed search warrants released Tuesday afternoon.  (Click to read warrants 1-10, 11-20 and 21-28.)

Elisa Baker's aunt, Buzzie Winkler, also said Wednesday that Zahra, who had survived cancer, had recently been sick and that Elisa Baker and Zahra's father, Adam, found the 10-year-old dead.

Winkler told WBTV on Wednesday that she visited Elisa Baker in jail Monday and talked with her. Winkler said Elisa Baker told her the disabled girl had been sick for two weeks before she died.  Winkler also said the family panicked when they discovered the dead girl and she was dismembered.

Click here for previous coverage of the Zahra Baker case.

In one of the warrants released Tuesday, Elisa Baker told investigators that Zahra died on Sept. 24.  Elisa Baker also told police that Adam Baker dismembered his daughter's body. 

Zahra's bones, blood and bodily fluids could be found in the plumbing of the family's home, Elisa Baker has said in earlier warrants.

According to a warrant, Elisa Baker claims that she and her husband went to Caldwell County where they disposed of the body at various locations. 

Hickory police go on to state in the warrant that cell phone GPS records back up Elisa Baker's claim that she had gone to Caldwell County that week. 

The cell phone records show Elisa Baker's phone was carried to the locations, but police also say cell phone records for Adam Baker's phone did not show movement into Caldwell County.  Police have been unable to confirm if he was actually there or not.   

Among other items requested in the search warrants were medical records for Elisa Baker, and Internet information regarding an Instant Messaging Virtual Universe, otherwise known as IMUV. 

Police had information that Elisa Baker, Adam Baker and at least two other people may have engaged in a role playing game called "murder with chainsaws."

Department of Social Services records from six different counties were also requested in search warrants.  Police were looking for any information on any cases that may have involved Elisa Baker and her biological children.

Police also requested DSS records involving any investigation into allegations that Elisa Baker had previously abused Zahra.  The warrant stated that Zahra did have evidence, at one time, of a black eye.

Authorities would not comment on the release of the warrants Tuesday afternoon.  The order that was signed by Judge Robert Ervin was not challenged by the District Attorney's office.  In separate paperwork, the DA's office stated that the release of the warrants would not hinder the investigation or jeopardize any prosecution in the case.

As in the other warrants released last year, there were details of blood evidence taken.  Much of that was from the house in Hickory where Zahra lived. 

Elisa Baker was supposed to appear in court Tuesday morning for an arraignment on an obstruction of justice charge, as well as a bond reduction hearing. 

Baker, however, did not appear in court.  Instead, the judge postponed the case until March 7, but there was no reason immediately given for the delay.

Authorities charged Baker with obstruction of justice after they say she wrote a fake ransom note about another girl on the same day in which Elisa and Adam Baker called police to report Zahra's disappearance.  The other girl mentioned in the kidnapping note was the daughter of Adam Baker's boss.

In addition to the obstruction of justice charge, Elisa Baker is also facing unrelated charges for writing worthless checks. 

She remains in the custody of the Catawba County Detention Center and is being held on nearly a $100,000 bond.

Copyright 2011 WBTV. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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