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Search continues at Baker house

October 28, 2010

Search crews returned Thursday to the house of a missing child, continuing an almost 3-week-old search for information about the girl's whereabouts.
Maj. Clyde Deal, with the Hickory Police Department, said investigators returned Thursday to the home of Zahra Baker, at 21 21st Ave. NW in Hickory, to search for evidence.
Deal said new information in the investigation led crews to search the site again, but he wouldn't elaborate about what crews are looking for.
About 30 people from the State Bureau of Investigation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and HPD assisted Thursday with the search, but Deal said not everyone is at the Baker house.
About five men combed the Baker backyard Thursday, sifting through piles of mulch with rakes. At times, crew members bent at their waists to more closely examine the search area on the ground.
Investigators also used a backhoe to dig in the yard for more clues.
Pink plastic flags sticking out from the ground marked interest points in the search.
Meanwhile, another team of investigators searched the Baker home. An SBI agent was seen slipping protective booties over his shoes before he entered the house through the front door.
Hickory Police Chief Tom Adkins arrived at the investigation site Thursday about 12:30 p.m. He spoke with crews searching the Baker house and combing the backyard.
Zahra's father, Adam Baker, was arrested Monday on charges unrelated to Zahra's disappearance and was released from jail Wednesday at 5 p.m. on a $7,000 secured bond.
Adam Baker previously worked with police during the investigation for Zahra, and investigators haven't ruled out Adam Baker's further involvement in the case.
"We have not contacted him since he's been out of jail, but that's not to say we won't," Deal said.
Adkins annouced Wednesday that police recovered a prosthetic leg during a search Tuesday of Christie Road in Caldwell County. The prosthesis matched the description of the leg belonging to Zahra. Police are in the process of confirming the prosthetic leg belonged to the girl, using a serial number printed on the device.
Deal confirmed Wednesday that the prosthesis was intact when found by officials. He would not elaborate, however, on the condition of the prosthesis.
Deal said it's possible crews will return to "areas" in Caldwell County to continue searching for additional evidence. Previous search sites in Caldwell County centered on places where Zahra's stepmother, Elisa Baker previously lived.
Elisa Baker remains in Catawba County jail under a $97,200 secured bond. She is charged with felony obstruction of justice and several other charges, including writing bad checks and communicating threats.
Police announced Tuesday that Elisa Baker, with her attorneys Scott Reilly and Lisa Dubs, was providing police with information in the investigation. Adkins wouldn't comment about whether it was Elisa Baker's information that led police Tuesday to the prosthetic leg.
Adam Baker reported Zahra missing Oct. 9, and search crews will continue to investigate her disappearance and presumed murder as long as there is new information.
"Everybody is giving 100 percent," Deal said. "We're dedicated to getting justice for Zahra, and that's what's keeping us going."

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