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Investigators seize mattress

October 26, 2010

Photo of Christie Road investigation by David Prewitt of the Lenoir News Topic.

Investigators seized a mattress Tuesday containing DNA evidence, which could potentially lead investigators closer to Zahra Baker.
Employees at the Caldwell County Landfill located the mattress Tuesday when they were regrading the area of the landfill investigators searched last week.
Hickory Police Chief Tom Adkins during a press conference last week said Zahra's mattress, once found, could provide police with a timeline in the child's disappearance. Police called the mattress a "key piece of evidence" in the investigation and said it will be processed for DNA evidence.
Meanwhile, investigators searched Christie Road in Caldwell County on Tuesday, blocking the road on both ends in the hope of finding more clues in the case.
The search area joins Pine Mountain and Deal Mill roads, located just outside of Hudson. Maj. Clyde Deal of the Hickory Police Department would not comment whether the crews were searching for evidence in the investigation or for Zahra's body.
Deal wouldn't elaborate on how many sites crews are searching in Caldwell County, but he said about 40 people from local, state and federal agencies are assisting with the search. One cadaver dog is also involved in the search.
Police confirmed in a press release Tuesday that Zahra's stepmother, Elisa Baker, and her attorneys, Scott Reilly and Lisa Dubs, are working with police during their investigation. Deal said Elisa Baker was transported from Catawba County jail to a Caldwell County on Monday and Tuesday morning. He wouldn't comment further on Elisa Baker's role in the investigation.
When asked if Elisa Baker was cooperating with authorities, Deal said, "We're dealing with her through her attorneys."
Reilly was not immediately available for comment.
Elisa Baker was arrested Oct. 10 for charges unrelated to her stepdaughter's disappearance. She was later charged with felony obstruction of justice after she admitted to writing a phony ransom note demanding $1 million. Reilly made a motion for a hearing in Catawba County court to reduce his client's bond, but District Court Judge Robert A. Mullinax Jr. increased Elisa Baker's bond last week by $25,000, saying she was a flight risk. Elisa Baker also faces other charges, which bring her total bond amount to $97,200.
The Christie Road site is one of two confirmed locations police searched in the last two days. Investigators also searched a location near Dudley Shoals, which is within a mile of one of Elisa Baker's former residences.
Zahra's father, Adam Baker, 33, was arrested Monday at 3 a.m. at the Hickory Police Department on outstanding charges. According to Hickory Police, Baker voluntarily came into the department for questioning and was subsequently arrested.
Police haven't ruled anyone out as a person of interest in the case.
Deal said Tuesday police continue to receive new information and leads in the case, and they will continue to pursue those leads.
Zahra was reported missing Oct. 9, and police continue to investigate her disappearance as a murder case.
The Lenoir News-Topic contributed to this report.

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