Many new details of Zahra's death revealed in Elisa Baker's plea

Published: Sep. 15, 2011 at 2:45 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 15, 2011 at 2:46 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn
Elisa Baker in court Thursday.
Elisa Baker in court Thursday.
Adam Baker in court Thursday.
Adam Baker in court Thursday.

NEWTON, NC (WBTV) - In the plea in the death of Zahra Baker, new details were revealed in court about what police found and when the 10-year-old girl actually died.

On Thursday morning, Elisa Baker pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of her stepdaughter, Zahra.

EXCLUSIVE: WBTV talks to Zahra's dad, Adam Baker

For the first time, police said they think Zahra died on Sept. 24, 2010 and that her cell phone records show she was at areas that day where Zahra's body parts were  later found.

Related story: Just who IS Elisa Baker?

Police also said Elisa Baker was sending text messages to Adam Baker as if Zahra was still alive in early October 2010.

Elisa Baker told police she found Zahra around 4 p.m. on Sept. 24, unresponsive in her room, said Cpt. Thurmond Whisnant on the stand Thursday.

Related: Elisa Baker enters guilty plea, could face 18 years in prison

Elisa Baker told police she tried CPR for 20 minutes, but was unsuccessful, Whisnant said.

Baker added that Zahra wasn't feeling well that day, according to Whisnant.

Another investigator said Thursday that many of Zahra's blood drops were found in Zahra's room after they examined it carefully.

Elisa told police that after she found Zahra, she then called Adam Baker who was at work and told Adam what happened, detectives said. Adam came home and said they could not call 911, Whisnant said.

But later on the stand, Whisnant testified that when they looked at Elisa Baker's cell phone records and the calls that were made to and from Adam Baker.

Those calls, Whisnant said, show that:

At 2:33 pm Elisa Baker was home
At 2:45 pm Elisa Baker was traveling on 321
Then 3 phone calls made in the Christy Road search area, where some of Zahra's remains were found.

Between 3:30-4 a phone call was made in the International Drive area, where other items were found, Whisnant said.

By 4:45, Elisa Baker was back home.

Whisnant later said Thursday that Elisa Baker was still sending text message to Adam Baker in early October 2010 that implied that Zahra was still alive at that point.

Adam Baker told police around that time that he worked many hours and rarely saw his daughter.

"Since May, I've smoked more marijuana than I've spent time with my daughter," Adam Baker told police around that time, Whisnant said Thursday.

Major Clyde Deal of the Hickory Police revealed on the stand Thursday that before Oct. 24, 2010, there were 340 investigative events of which 58 were searches for Zahra. Police also searched landfills looking for a mattress.

After Oct. 24, police then got a call from defense lawyers saying Elisa Baker was willing to offer assistance in finding Zahra's dead body. Police said that they likely would not have found Zahra's body without help from Elisa Baker.

Parts of Zahra's body were found in multiple sites around Hickory months after her disappearance was reported. Zahra's armbone, prosthetic leg, torso and pelvic area were found, investigators said for the first time in court Thursday.

Police said Thursday that they also found a saw, which they believe was used to cut up the girl's body. A vertebrae and other bones of Zahra were also found with saw cut marks on them, an investigator said Thursday.

But Zahra's head and many other body parts were never found.

After the plea was announced Thursday morning, the prosecutor in the case said that the family of Zahra is entitled to the cost of transporting the child to Australia for a proper burial.

Zahra's remains are held as evidence and the prosecutor said he will request this after testimony.