Adam Baker leaves country

Adam Baker is no longer in the United States, according to Vincent Picard of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office in Atlanta.

Picard confirmed Monday that Baker, who moved to western North Carolina from Australia after meeting Elisa Baker online and marrying her in 2008, purchased an airline ticket and left the country.

“Adam Baker voluntarily departed the United States Jan. 19 on a flight bound for Australia,” Picard wrote in an e-mail sent to the News-Topic on Monday afternoon. “Mr. Baker coordinated his return to Australia with ICE officials, who verified that he had purchased a ticket to Australia and had boarded the plane prior to his departure.

“As Mr. Baker updated ICE officers on his travel plans, ICE also continued to keep local law enforcement agencies and prosecutors apprised of his status. Local authorities were notified of Mr. Baker’s return plans at least 48 hours prior to his departure, and indicated that they had no interest in pursuing his case.”

The District 25 Attorney's Office declined to comment.

In June 2011, ICE agents issued a deportation order because the visa authorizing Baker’s entry into the United States had expired, according to his Catawba County attorney, Mark Killian.

Baker’s one desire was to return to Australia with the remains of his 10-year-old daughter Zahra, who was reported missing in October 2010.

Parts of her dismembered body were found scattered throughout southern Caldwell County.

He took custody of his daughter’s cremated remains in December, saying again that it was his desire to return Zahra to her native Australia to be laid to rest.

Baker was to first serve a 30-day sentence in Caldwell County for assault with a deadly weapon for an incident in which he allegedly tried to run down a couple in their car with his vehicle.

The May 13, 2010 incident on Horseshoe Bend Road followed a dispute with Adam’s wife, Elisa, about money owed for pocketbooks.

Adam Baker’s sentence was on appeal, but the case had not been placed on a court calendar as of Friday. Four outstanding charges of writing worthless checks also have not been adjudicated.

“I don’t know what is going to happen with those,” Killian said. “Since it’s a misdemeanor, I really don’t think they are going to extradite him back here. The DA may end up just taking a dismissal, because I don’t know what else they may do.”

Elisa Baker was convicted Sept. 15, 2011, in Catawba County, of second-degree murder for the death and dismemberment of Zahra.

Elisa received a minimum prison sentence of 14 years, 9 months after entering the guilty plea.

Zahra’s death was ruled as undetermined homicidal violence. Adam Baker was not implicated in the murder.

The O-N-E contributed information to this report.