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N.C. lawmakers pass 'Zahra's Law'

June 14, 2011

RALEIGH — The General Assembly has agreed to make it illegal to dismember a body to hide a possible crime or other evidence of an unnatural death. The move occurred following the death of a 10-year-old girl with disabilities reported missing from her North Carolina home last fall.

The Senate gave final legislative approval Monday night to the measure. The bill now goes to Gov. Beverly Perdue's desk.

The measure was sought by the prosecutor in the case of Zahra Baker, whose remains were discovered strewn across two western counties. Her stepmother has been charged with second-degree murder. Court documents say Elisa Baker told investigators Zahra was dismembered after dying.

The bill would create three different felonies — the most serious crime punishable by a maximum of 13 years in prison.

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