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HICKORY, NC (WBTV) - Adam Baker and his mother, Karen, shed more than a few tears Tuesday night while watching a vigil for his 10-year-old daughter on a computer screen, isolated from the public.
Baker told WBTV that he wanted to go to the vigil for his 10-year-old daughter Zahra, but didn't want his presence to be a distraction. Baker said he can't go anywhere without people yelling at him and accusing him of murder.
Police in Hickory announced Friday that DNA from a bone found during a search matched Zahra's DNA and showed that she was dead. Court papers filed Monday by Adam's wife Elisa said the body had been dismembered and remains had been scattered in several locations across Caldwell County.
Adam Baker thinks people at the vigil would have made a scene if he'd shown up, calling him names.
"[People have been saying] that I'm a child abuser," Baker said while wiping his eyes.
Signs up at Baker's Hickory home blame him, and his wife Elisa, for what happened to Zahra. Adam Baker says people don't understand, they are wrong about him.
"There's no way in the world [that] I would ever hurt my daughter...no, there's no way I could do that to my baby," Baker said. When asked if he dismembered her body, his answer was simple. "No."
A simple answer and Baker isn't saying much more. As he sat with his lawyer in the room, Baker did not offer any information when asked about Elisa and what he may know about her role, if any, in the case.
He looked over at his attorney and would only say that police aren't telling him much, but he thinks they are closer to learning the truth.
He then said he hoped "police will find the evidence and come to the right conclusion and give justice to Zahra."
Thousands of people showed up Tuesday night for the vigil to remember and honor Zahra on what would have been her 11th birthday. Baker watched a live stream of the vigil on WBTV.com with his mother and lawyer. They were in an office just a block away from the event.
Tears were shed as he watched the tribute. He said he wanted to tell the people of Hickory "thank you," saying the vigil "meant the world to me."
Baker's mom has been by his side, supporting him during the past month. It's a place she says she plans to stay.
"It's really hard to listen to people call him a murderer and child abuser," Karen Baker told WBTV. "People don't know."
Karen Baker says her granddaughter Zahra taught everyone what true courage is about. Adam says the pain of losing her will not go away.
"There's no possible way to ever fill the hole left by my daughter," Baker said.
Adam Baker says he'd like a normal life again, but doesn't think that will ever happen. When all of this is over, he says he'd like to go back to Australia and take Zahra with him to be buried.
"It's what she would have wanted," he said.
Adam Baker has not been charged in his daughter's death. His wife Elisa remains in jail, charged with obstruction of justice.