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Elisa Baker's case continued

December 17, 2010

Elisa Baker

The Hickory woman charged for obstructing the investigation into her stepdaughter's disappearance had her case continued in court Friday.

Elisa Baker, 42, of Hickory, was scheduled to appear in Catawba County District Court on Friday for four worthless check charges unrelated to the disappearance and death of her stepdaughter, Zahra Baker.

The case against Elisa Baker was continued to April 22, but she didn't appear Friday in court. Her attorney, Scott Reilly, appeared in her place.

Judge Gregory Hayes presided over District Court on Friday, but Elisa Baker's worthless check charges were continued before Hayes took the bench.

Reilly scheduled the continuance with Heather Reedy, assistant district attorney.

Elisa Baker's four charges allegedly happened during an 18-day period at two grocery stores.

The first offense allegedly occurred May 13, 2009, when Elisa Baker wrote a bad check for $64.88. The three additional offenses occurred at Food Lion and allegedly involve checks written in the amounts of $136.49, $122.47 and $158.04. These incidents occurred May 21 and 31, 2009, according to court documents.

Elisa Baker previously appeared in court during a bond reduction hearing via closed-circuit television from Catawba County jail, where she is being held under a $97,200 bond.

Elisa Baker requested a bond reduction hearing after claiming she led police to credible evidence during their investigation into Zahra's disappearance and death.

Elisa Baker's involvement in the investigation was further confirmed Nov. 30 when search warrants in the case were unsealed. The documents detailed grisly information about how Elisa Baker led police to Zahra's dismembered remains, which were scattered throughout Caldwell and Catawba counties.

Since the warrants' unsealing, media outlets made multiple attempts to unseal the remaining warrants in the case, which include information about Elisa Baker's medical records, phone numbers and Department of Social Services case files.

One organization, however, is circulating a petition asking people to sign an online document to oppose the warrants' unsealing.

The Zahra Project, which started as a Facebook group, asked users to sign the petition, addressed to District Attorney Jay Gaither, Superior Court judges and other Catawba County leaders, to prevent the warrants from being released.

More than 100 people signed the petition, echoing concerns of the District Attorney's Office that the released warrants will hinder the ongoing investigation.

"I think there are a lot of things in this case that we still don't know," wrote one Facebook user on the group's page. "And, as for me, if releasing these warrants will hinder or possibly hinder this case in any way, then I can wait for information."

A hearing in Catawba County court to decide whether warrants in the case will be unsealed is scheduled for Jan. 3.

Elisa Baker also faces charges of driving while license revoked, larceny by employee, driving with unsafe tires, communicating threats, operating a vehicle with no insurance and driving with a fictional, canceled or revoked license plate/tag.

She will appear in court Jan. 3 on a felony obstruction of justice charge in which she allegedly wrote a phony ransom note police located at the former Baker rental property. The note claimed a girl was taken and demanded $1 million in unmarked bills.

Elisa Baker is also scheduled to appear in court Jan. 27 in Caldwell County for additional worthless check charges and traffic violations.

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