11/03/10 4:30 pm Update:
Search teams in Caldwell County have recovered a bone that may be related to the Zahra Baker case. The bone will be sent to the Medical Examiner's office in Chapel Hill for further examination. Once their examination is complete and if it is determined to be related to this case, it will be sent to the NC State Bureau of Investigation's lab for further testing.
NO formal media briefings are scheduled today.
10/27/2010 4:30 pm:
Investigators have discovered a prosthetic leg consistent with the description of Zahra Baker's left prosthesis. Investigators have also uncovered information that led search teams back to the family home at 21 21st NE in Hickory, NC, where technicians recovered specific pieces of evidence.
The mattress discovered at the Foothills Environmental Landfill in Caldwell County is being tested for DNA, but the results of those tests are not complete. The mattress was discovered by landfill workers outside the original search grid determined to be the area most likely to have been the area where the mattress was dropped. The workers at the landfill have been diligently looking for anything that may assist this investigation, an effort for which they should be commended.
10/26/10 4:00 PM
Elisa Baker, along with her attorneys Lisa Dubs and Scott Reilly, has been providing information to Hickory Police Department and the investigation team of the Zahra Baker case since Sunday. This information and all other leads are being followed up by the investigation team.
10/25/10 4:00 PM
Adam T. Baker, Zahra's father was arrested on 10/25/10 at 3:12 am at the Hickory Police Department. The charges were unrelated to the Zahra Baker case. The charges were five (5) counts of Worthless Checks and three (3) counts of Failure to Appear. He was placed in the Catawba County Detention Facility under a $7,000 secured bond. Before his arrest, Baker voluntarily came to Hickory Police Headquarters and submitted to an interview. Baker was at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport picking up a family member prior to coming to HPD. The Australian Consulate in Atlanta was notified of Baker's arrest at his request.
Search teams from Hickory Police Department along with NC State Bureau of Investigation Agents, Federal Bureau of Investigation's Evidence Response Team members and Agents along with cadaver dogs are searching areas in Caldwell County.
10/22/10 4:00 PM
The team from Hickory Police Department along with NC State Bureau of Investigation Agents, Federal Bureau of Investigation's Evidence Response Team members and Agents and the US Marshal Service completed searching for a piece of evidence in the Foothills Environmental Landfill (Caldwell County Landfill) at approximately 3:00 pm today. The search focused on a mattress belonging to Zahra that had been disposed of by Zahra's parents sometime during early October, days before Zahra was reported missing.
Investigators hoped to use the mattress to confirm interviews with persons associated with this investigation and to reinforce the timeline. We also hoped it could provide some DNA evidence related to this case.
Our team would like to thank the Caldwell County Sheriff's Office and the Hickory Fire Department for their support efforts with this search. Also, we would like to thank the staff from Foothills Environmental and Republic Services for outstanding cooperation and assistance during this search.
Our team will continue to pursue leads called in to our tip line and go wherever and do whatever we need to find Zahra and bring justice for her.
10/20/2010 10:00 AM
A team from Hickory Police Department along with NC State Bureau of Investigation Agents, Evidence Recovery Team members and Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and US Marshal Service are searching for a piece of evidence in the Foothills Environmental Landfill (Caldwell County Landfill) located at 2800 Cheraw Road, Lenoir, NC. The search team is being supported by the Caldwell County Sheriff's Office and the Hickory Fire Department.
Media will not be allow on the landfill site and are asked to stage at Caldwell County Sheriff's Office located at 2351 Morganton Boulevard SW Lenoir, NC.
The recording of the 911 call that was made by Adam Baker on October 9, 2010 at 1:58 pm to report his daughter, Zahra Baker missing after it was transferred to the Hickory Police Department's Communication Center.
Canine teams continue to search areas identified by tips and investigator interviews. Investigators continue to seek persons outside family members who saw Zahra after September 25, 2010 and any information that can provide more background details about Zahra and anyone involved with this case.
Over the course of this investigation, so many people and organizations have volunteered their services. Local restaurants have donated food for the investigative team so they do not have to stop to eat and can continue to work on their assignments. Canine teams from in-state as well as one from out of state have covered many acres and properties in this investigation.
With that in mind, Hickory Police Department has been made aware of an organization soliciting funds for Zahra Baker. This group states that one purpose for these funds according to their website is to: "Support the efforts of law enforcement to investigate and prosecute the case surrounding the abduction/homicide of Zahra Claire Baker." Hickory Police Department has not been contacted by this group or has been given any information of their intent for this fund. HPD intends to explore this matter in greater detail without diverting resources from the investigation of Zahra.
An organization that HPD and the investigative team from other LE agencies have been working with is "Team Adam" from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. Team Adam provides rapid, on-site assistance to law enforcement agencies and families in cases of missing, abducted, and exploited children. Its members are retired law-enforcement professionals with years of investigative experience at the federal, state, and local level. Team Adam Consultants rapidly deploy to sites where cases are unfolding, providing on-the-ground technical assistance and connecting local law enforcement with a national network of resources.
Two Team Adam Consultants are currently in Hickory assisting with this case, one consultant has been in Hickory since the second day after the report about Zahra.
Investigators have narrowed the timeline to the last time Zahra was seen by someone other than a family member to September 25, 2010. Police have received more than 200 tips from the public along with many tips that are being called into other agencies and continue to follow-up on each one that is received. Hickory Police continue to ask the public to contact them with any information that would assist with this case.
Hickory Police investigators are working several leads, specifically addressing Zahra's life before she disappeared. Investigators will be interviewing her former teachers at schools in Caldwell Co., NC. The family also lived at several different addresses recently, and investigators will be interviewing those neighbors who may have known the family and Zahra.
As the investigation continues, the Department will do its best to update the media of any significant developments.
We will begin a 3pm briefing each day as the case develops, or until we reach a conclusion to the investigation. If there are more significant developments, we will call an immediate briefing to update media.
During the day Sunday, Hickory Police investigators gathered surveillance video from businesses near the home of 10-year-old Zahra Clare Baker to put together a better timeline of events leading to her disappearance. Investigators also followed up on a call for service by the Hickory Fire Department at 21 21st Avenue NW, the home where Zahra lives with her parents.
Zahra's step-mother reported her missing Saturday afternoon. Her mother says she last saw Zahra at 2:30 Saturday morning. Elisa Baker was arrested Sunday morning on outstanding charges not related to the disappearance of Zahra. Adam Baker, Zahra's father has also been questioned in this case.
Zahra is about 5'1" tall, weighs about 85 pounds and has short reddish blond hair. She has a prosthetic left leg and is hearing impaired, requiring hearing aids in both ears. Zahra does not have those hearing aids with her.
The Amber Alert will remain in effect for Zahra until she found. The Hickory Police Department is being assisted by the State Bureau of Investigation, US Marshals Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. "We are using every available resource we have at our disposal to find Zahra. We are not giving up hope that Zahra will return home safe and sound," said Hickory Police Chief Tom Adkins.