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Briefcase most likely not linked to Zahra

January 21, 2011

What could have been a significant piece of evidence in the Zahra Baker case is now, most likely, a dead end.

Hickory Police Maj. Clyde Deal said Friday that a briefcase and blanket found Tuesday in Caldwell County probably isn't related to the 10-year-old disabled girl's death.

"We're looking into it, but it's not at the top of the list, because it's more than likely not related to the case," Deal said.

Loggers located the briefcase at 10 a.m. Tuesday about a quarter-mile off Christie Road in Lenoir. The site was previously a place of interest for investigators, who located a bone and Zahra's prosthetic leg near that area during the course of the investigation.

The briefcase contained a blanket and was wet and cold from exposure to the elements, Deal said. HPD retained possession of the briefcase after it was found Tuesday, and the briefcase was sent to a crime lab for further investigation.

Although Deal said it's unlikely the briefcase is related to the Zahra investigation, it's not too late to add evidence to the department's case. HPD submitted a prosecution summary to the District Attorney's Office in December, but that document is only a portion of investigators' findings.

Deal said the "full-blown case" file amounts to more than 10,000 pages of findings in the investigation.

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