Zahra's autopsy mentions at least 2 different cutting instrument - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Zahra's autopsy mentions at least 2 different cutting instruments

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HICKORY, NC (WBTV) - On the same day in which Elisa Baker was indicted on second-degree murder charges in the death of her stepdaughter, Zahra, the state medical examiner's office also released its autopsy report about how the 10-year-old girl was killed.

The report says the cause of death is "undetermined homicidal violence" and that the body was "presumed" to have been dismembered after the girl died, but they were not sure.

The autopsy says the medical examiners' office received partial skeletal remains of Zahra and that she had been cut in various areas.

"The marks grossly appear to result from the use of at least two different cutting instruments," the report said.

Related: Click here to read the autopsy (WARNING: Graphic content)
Related: Click to read Medical Examiner's report (Warning Graphic content)

The report said there appeared to be evidence of cutting on the body: "Tool marks involving vertebra C5, right femur, left clavicle and remote rib fractures," the report said.

Medical examiners were able to positively identify the remains as those of Zahra Baker through DNA.

The report says the remains were "skeletonized" and that some areas were "scavenging" from animals was present.

On November 4, 2010, the left humerus of a child was sent to the N.C. Office of the Chief Medical Examiner by the Hickory Police Department where measurements and photographs were taken.

A representative with the police department then transported the bone to the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab for DNA analysis and identification.

The bone was later returned to the medical examiner's office on December 17, 2010 for further analysis. 

Medical examiners noted "cut" or "tool mark" injuries on the partial skeletal remains. 

"These injuries indicate that the decedent was dismembered and are presumed to have occurred postmortem," the report said, but was not definitive in that aspect.

A partial skeleton was taken to the medical examiners' office on November 10, 2010.  The right clavicle was sent to the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab for DNA analysis and identification.

The right clavicle was later returned to the medical examiner's office for analysis.

"Many of the bones are not present for examination, most notably the skull," and the report goes on to say, "Several of the bones exhibit cutting tool marks that are consistent with dismemberment. The marks grossly appear to result from the use of at least two different cutting instruments."

Medical examiners found, "...approximately 11 cut marks located on the right femur ranging in length from 9mm to 22 mm."  One cut mark was partially through the neck. 

The report also states, "There are seven cut marks on the shaft of the femur."

Medical examiners determined, "The DNA profiles obtained from the two bones match one another indicating that all of the discovered remains are from one individual."

The DNA profiles matched the DNA profile obtained from Zahra's tooth brush. 

There were even signs of scavenging by animals noted on several bones recovered.

"A determination of sex, race, and height is not made from the remains due to their incomplete nature," the report said.

The report says Zahra underwent an above knee amputation of the left leg in 2005 after she was diagnosed for osteosarcoma.  She later had a right lung lobectomy in 2007 for metastatic disease. 

She and her father, Adam Baker, moved from Australia to the U.S. in 2008.   There have been few medical reports for her since she moved to the US, the autopsy said.

"Based on the history and autopsy findings, it is our opinion that the cause of death in this case is undetermined homicidal violence," the autopsy concluded.

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