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Adam Baker: Kidnappers set fire

October 19, 2010

The father of a missing girl said his daughter's kidnappers could be to blame for a fire that occurred in his backyard on the day she was reported missing.
Hickory Police Department released Tuesday a recording of the 9-1-1 tape when Zahra Baker's father, Adam Baker, reported her missing about 2 p.m. Oct. 9.
Adam Baker told the 9-1-1 operator that the fire was a possible distraction abductors used to take Zahra.
"I don't know if they set a fire in the yard to distract us, and they snuck in the door or ... I don't know," Adam Baker said in the 9-1-1 tape.
Adam Baker reported seeing Zahra in her bed asleep Saturday about 2:30 a.m.
When the 9-1-1 operator questioned Baker about why he went 12 hours without seeing his daughter, Baker cited puberty as a reason for Zahra's apparent detachment from the family.
"Me and my wife went back to bed," Adam Baker told the 9-1-1 operator. "And my daughter, I think is coming into puberty, so she's hitting that broody stage, so we haven't seen her (except) when she comes out and when she wants something, and that's about it."
Adam Baker explained to the 9-1-1 operator that the family had "drama" earlier Oct. 9 with a fire in their backyard.
Zahra's stepmother, Elisa Baker, called 9-1-1 to report the fire.
In the 9-1-1 call released Tuesday by Catawba County emergency dispatchers, Elisa Baker told the operator that her husband works with a tree maintenance company and, "We have mulch piles and wood piles because we sell firewood and stuff."
Baker told the 9-1-1 operator his dog alerted him to the fire about 5 a.m. He said his company vehicle was doused in gasoline, and he found a ransom note on the vehicle addressed to his boss. The note demanded $1 million in unmarked bills and claimed the man's daughter was taken and his son was next.
"It appears they may have taken my daughter instead of his daughter," Baker told the 9-1-1 operator.
Adam Baker told the 9-1-1 operator he didn't know who took his daughter.
Hickory Police Department held a press conference Oct. 13 and said Elisa Baker admitted to writing the ransom note. Elisa Baker was charged with felony obstruction of justice and is in Catawba County jail.
A hearing to reduce Elisa Baker's bond for the obstruction of justice charge is scheduled for Wednesday.
Officials in Zahra's homicide investigation are seeking the child's medical records from an Australian medical institution.
Investigators with the Hickory Police Department asked for information about Zahra's medical treatment, including the prosthetic leg she used after her leg was amputated from the knee down as a result of bone cancer.
Maj. Clyde Deal with the Hickory Police Department said investigators want to know the serial number of Zahra's prosthesis, as well as its model type and the material it's made of.
Deal declined to say if investigators are also seeking the child's dental records, which are often used to identify a body.
Zahra also wore hearing aids after losing her hearing from cancer treatment. Police said Zahra's hearing aids are not with her, but her prosthetic leg was not recovered at the Baker residence in Hickory.
Police continue to follow leads in the investigation, and Deal said officers will continue the search as long as there are leads to follow.
- The Associated Press contributed to this report.

To hear the 9-1-1 call made by Adam Baker, go to The O-N-E's home page and scroll down to the video section.

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