Adam Baker arrested Monday
The father of a missing girl presumed dead was arrested Monday morning on charges unrelated to his daughter's disappearance.
Zahra Baker's father, Adam Baker, was arrested Monday about 3 a.m. at the Hickory Police Department. Libby Grigg, Hickory Police spokeswoman, said Adam Baker voluntarily submitted for an interview at the police department and was subsequently arrested.
Prior to his arrest, Baker picked up a family member at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport, according to a press release.
Baker is charged with five counts of misdemeanor worthless checks and failing to appear on two counts of communicating threats, assault with a deadly weapon and failure to return rental property. The charges allegedly happened in Caldwell County.
Grigg didn't know when the charges occurred, but she confirmed they are unrelated to Zahra's disappearance.
Adam Baker was taken to Catawba County jail under a $7,000 secured bond. The Australian Consulate in Atlanta was notified of Adam Baker's arrest, at his request.
Alexandra Peard, Media Relations and Public Affairs director for the Australian Consulate General in New York confirmed that the Australian Consulate General in Atlanta is providing consular assistance to Adam Baker.
According to the Australian Consulate website, consular officials can provide assistance to citizens in the event of an accident and, in the event of an arrest, notify the next of kin, provide a list of lawyers, conduct prison visits, as well as ensure fair treatment.
Peard also said consular officials are providing assistance to members of Adam and Zahra Baker's family in Canberra, Australia.
Adam Baker's court date is scheduled for Nov. 18 in Caldwell County.
Grigg didn't know if Baker has an attorney.
Meanwhile, law enforcement officials searched areas of Caldwell County on Monday for additional information about Zahra's disappearance.
Grigg wouldn't say if crews are searching for another piece of evidence or Zahra's body.
The search, which led to the closure of a stretch of Dudley Shoals Road between Burns and Morris Creek roads in Caldwell County, started early Monday and covered a wooded area with a creek.
WSOC-TV reported that Elisa Baker, Zahra’s stepmother, was brought to the scene of the search in an SUV late Monday afternoon, but Adkins would not confirm that report, and he did not elaborate on what crews at the scene were looking for in the latest search.
Grigg said the department "continues to follow up on any leads" they receive.
The State Bureau of Investigation, members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Evidence Response Team, as well as cadaver dogs assisted with Monday's search.
Hickory Police Chief Tom Adkins previously told the media during a press conference that Adam Baker had outstanding warrants for his arrest, but because he was cooperating with police, the warrants weren't served.
Adam Baker's wife, Elisa Baker, was arrested Oct. 10 on charges unrelated to Zahra's disappearance. Adkins said Elisa Baker was arrested after inconsistencies in her testimony led police to believe she was untruthful during their investigation.
Elisa Baker was later charged with felony obstruction of justice after she admitted writing a phony ransom note found on the Baker property in Hickory the day Zahra was reported missing.
Attorney Lisa Dubs was recently appointed to Elisa Baker's case as provisional counsel. North Carolina's Indigent Defense Services Director and Capital Defender Robert Hurley said there is no rotation for attorneys selected for indigent defense services. He appointed Dubs to the case based on her experience.
According to Dubs' website, her "primary experience is in the area of capital murder cases and serious felonies."
Elisa Baker has yet to be charged with Zahra's murder, but Dubs' counsel is a precautionary measure, Hurley said.
"It seems pretty clear in (law enforcements') minds that Elisa Baker is one of their primary suspects," Hurley said.
As provisional counsel, Dubs will work to ensure Elisa Baker has a fair trail and her rights are protected.
Hurley said Dubs is qualified to serve as lead counsel in capital cases. Requirements for this position include at least six years of criminal or civil litigation experience, familiarity with ethics requirements and current practices in North Carolina, experience in a capital murder case, as well as familiarity with the use of expert witnesses and scientific medical evidence.