Hundreds attend vigil for Zahra as details released in documents - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Hundreds attend vigil for Zahra as details released in documents

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Hundreds at the vigil on Tuesday night. (Source: Steve Crump) Hundreds at the vigil on Tuesday night. (Source: Steve Crump)
A man shields the wind from a woman holding a candle at the vigil Tuesday night. A man shields the wind from a woman holding a candle at the vigil Tuesday night.
Zahra at Camp Quality (Source: Townsville Bulletin) Zahra at Camp Quality (Source: Townsville Bulletin)
Elisa Baker being led out of a courthouse. Elisa Baker being led out of a courthouse.

By WBTV Staff & Tom Roussey - bio l email

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Thousands of people packed Union Square in Hickory Tuesday night to mourn a girl who should have been celebrating her 11th birthday -- but will never get the chance.

There were prayers, candles, and tears for Zahra Baker, who police last week confirmed was dead after she'd been missing for over a month.

Many who came out Tuesday night never knew Zahra, but many others did.

"She was very, very sweet and we miss her a lot," said Lynlee Suber, who used to ride the bus with Zahra to Granite Falls Elementary School.

Speakers at the vigil described a girl who never let anything stop her -- not losing a leg, not losing her hearing, not even fighting cancer.

"She wanted no pity," said Hickory police chief Tom Adkins.  "She wanted to be like every other child."

Some at the vigil drove from other cities to share their prayers for the girl, who had survived cancer twice.

"To have a child that endured so much. To go through so much and to die this way is just horrendous, and it didn't need to happen," said Susan Tancora of Cornelius.

But, some people were angry about the lack of charges directly related to the girl's death. Near the end of the vigil many shouted "We want justice." 

The vigil came just a day after disturbing details have emerged that suggest the girl could have been dismembered after dying.

On Monday Elisa Baker's attorney filed a request to have her bond lowered.  He describes how Elisa helped detectives in the case of Zahra Baker by taking them to places where parts of Zahra's body might be.

Related: Click here for the actual court documents

Elisa Baker was Zahra's stepmother.  As of now, she has only been charged with obstruction of justice after authorities say she admitted faking a ransom note.

On Tuesday, the District Attorney said that he would fight the attempt to lower her bail.

Full Coverage: Zahra Baker case timeline and full coverage

Elisa Baker told her attorneys on October 22 that she knew the circumstances concerning the disappearance and death of the 10-year-old girl, according to Baker's attorney, Scott Reilly.

Reilly said that night his team recovered a significant piece of evidence in the case that was later turned over the law enforcement officials.

Within two days, police were told that Zahra was dead and that her body was dismembered and would be recovered at different locations, according to Reilly.

His team suggested to Hickory Police Department that Elisa could show them the exact locations.

Elisa Baker was taken out of jail at one point during the investigation and led cops to three different sites, including the Dudley Shoals area and the Christie Road area, both of which are in Caldwell County.

Police believe that Zahra's remains were found in the Dudley Shoals area.  Her prosthetic leg and a bone that matched her DNA were found off Christie Road.

Reilly said Elisa Baker also confirmed to police that a mattress found at a landfill was consistent with one that had been placed in a dumpster. In addition, she told them additional evidence could be found in the family's Hickory home, according to Reilly.

Reilly's team argues that her bond should be reduced because her cooperation led police to much of the evidence in the case.

District Attorney James Gaither Jr. told The Associated Press on Tuesday his office will oppose the effort. Gaither says if necessary he would present evidence to prevent a lower bond.

Elisa Baker is not charged in the girl's death. She's been held since the day after Zahra was reported missing last month, charged with writing a fake ransom note about another girl to throw off investigators.

In trying to get the bond lowered, Baker's attorney's also argue that because of the high profile nature of the case, Elisa Baker is now instantly recognizable and would not be able to easily avoid detection if she left the area.

Copyright 2010 WBTV. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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