Skip to main content

Search warrants provide grisly details in Zahra Baker's death

By the CNN Wire Staff
Click to play
Father accused of dismembering child
  • Stepmother claims girl's father dismembered body
  • A judge releases search warrants from detectives probing Zahra Baker's death
  • Zahra's remains were found November 11, a month after she was reported missing

(CNN) -- The stepmother of 10-year-old Zahra Baker told police the girl was killed two weeks before she was reported missing, according to search warrants released Tuesday.

Stepmother Elisa Baker also told police in Hickory, North Carolina, that the disabled girl's body was disposed of the next day, September 25, in various locations, according to the documents.

She told police on November 19 that the girl's father, Adam Baker, dismembered the girl, and the couple disposed of the remains.

While Elisa Baker has been charged with obstruction of justice -- for writing a fake ransom note and leaving it at the family's Hickory home -- no one has been charged directly in the girl's death. Elisa Baker also is accused of writing worthless checks.

Police have said she had been cooperating with investigators.

One of the search warrants details an online conversation a web user said she had with Adam and/or Elisa Baker "regarding their involvement with chainsaw massacre role-playing."

According to the warrant, "the date of September 22 was given regarding their virtual family 'doing a murder with chainsaws.'" Elisa Baker's former husband also was involved in role-playing, according to the conversation.

Catawba Superior Court Judge Robert C. Ervin released the 30 search warrants that provide more insight into the grisly killing of the freckled-face girl, who lost part of her left leg at age 5 to cancer. Eleven search warrants were released in December.

Police found some of Zahra Baker's remains on November 11, just over a month after she was reported her missing.

In October, Adam Baker, who denied he was involved in Zahra's disappearance, tearfully called for the return of his daughter.

Investigators reviewed Adam Baker's cell phone records and the phone's GPS locator from September 25, the warrants say. According to those records, Adam Baker's phone was not in the areas where Zahra's remains were found on the day that Elisa Baker said he disposed of them, the warrants say.

Elisa Baker's cell phone records indicate that her phone was in those areas on that day, the warrants say.

According to the warrants, Elisa Baker told Adam Baker that a man she said was her brother actually was her husband. She married Adam Baker before the divorce, police said.

CNN left messages Tuesday evening with the attorneys for Elisa and Adam Baker.

In one of the search warrants released in December, a tipster told police that Zahra had been at a North Carolina home with two men and one of the men said "he had done something very bad and needed to leave town."

One of the men was associated with Zahra's stepmother but was not Zahra's father, the tipster said.

The tipster also told police that Zahra had been raped by both men and that she had blood on her private area and legs, the search warrant said. The tipster told police that he got the information about the alleged rape from a friend who was told about it from his sister.

Police went to the home to see if they could confirm the fourth-hand information and found a mattress at the side of the house that "had a large dark stain in the middle," the search warrant said.

The tipster said the men did not admit to killing the girl but did say that they "might have hit her in the head," the search warrant said.

Adam Baker was arrested in late October in nearby Catawba County on eight charges: five counts of writing bad checks and three counts of failing to appear in court. Authorities said the charges were unrelated to Zahra's disappearance, and he was later released on bail.

The disappearance of Zahra made international news. The girl, whose biological parents were both from Australia, lost part of her left leg at age 5 and lost hearing in both ears while being treated for cancer.