- Special Sections
- Auto Racing
Recently unsealed court documents reveal grisly details about Zahra Baker's final days.
The documents, which were unsealed Tuesday, contain detailed information about Zahra's life leading up to her death and how her body was disposed.
According to a motion to seal the criminal investigation record, a source contacted Lt. Becky Weatherman, of the Burke County Sheriff's Office, on Oct. 14 and claimed he was told by Jerry Mooningham, who received the information from his sister Becky Mooningham, that Zahra was at a house on Burke County Road with someone named James and another subject named Sammy. In the source's written statement, he said Sammy told Becky Mooningham that he had "done something very bad and needed to leave town."
The source's statement also claims Zahra showed physical injuries symptomatic of a rape, because Sammy and James raped the child, who was 10 years old at the time.
The source claimed he asked Jerry Mooningham if Sammy and James killed Zahra, and Jerry Mooningham said the men "might have hit her on the head."
The source also indicated that Sammy and Elisa Baker, Zahra's stepmother, had "some kind of relationship."
North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation agents followed up on the tip Oct. 15 and arrived at a home in the 8600 block of County Line Road in Hildebran, which is where Lewis James Young and Timothy Samuel "Sammy" Young reside.
They located Lewis James Young inside the residence, and found a mattress lying on the ground at the side of the house, which had a large dark stain in its center.
Lewis James Young agreed to speak with investigators, and told officers he "removed the mattress from the house to let it 'air out' due to the fact he had urinated on it."
Lewis James Young told investigators he knew Zahra Baker, but he didn't think she was at his residence.
Investigators obtained a search warrant Oct. 15 to search the property at 8630 County Line Road in Hildebran.
The search warrants unsealed Tuesday also reveal gruesome information about how Zahra's body was disposed of after her death.
The a document filed Oct. 29 states investigators met with Elisa Baker, her attorney Lisa Dubs and private investigator Steve Ehlers to show police where evidence was disposed. Elisa Baker allegedly told police, through Dubs, that one location of possible evidence was a dumpster at Fox Ridge Apartments in Hickory. Elisa Baker said she and Zahra's father, Adam Baker, threw Zahra's prosthetic leg, which was wrapped in a white trash bag, into the dumpster. The leg was later located in a brushy area off Christie Road in Caldwell County.
Elisa Baker also led police to another dumpster located behind the Fair Value Grocery Store in Hudson. She told police this dumpster was where she and Adam Baker dumped a car cover and a bed comforter used to conceal and transport Zahra's body.
Elisa Baker also allegedly told police Zahra's body was dismembered and the child's body parts could be found in the drain trap of the bathtub. Elisa Baker told investigators she used latex gloves while Zahra's body was dismembered, and police could find the gloves in the bathroom of the Bakers' former residence, located at 21 21st Ave. NW in Hickory.
Police obtained a search warrant for the Baker residence, where they found possible blood evidence, according to the warrant.
Also during the search of the house, investigators located and seized hearing aid parts, which Elisa Baker told them belonged to Zahra. The child used hearing aids after she lost her sense of hearing because of cancer treatment.
The unsealed warrants also reveal Elisa Baker's attempt to deceive authorities about her involvement in Zahra's death.
Elisa Baker underwent a polygraph test Oct. 9 and was asked three questions, which included: Did you hurt Zahra?; Do you know if anyone has done harm to the child?; and Do you know the person who wrote the ransom note?
The polygraph tests revealed Elisa Baker showed deception on all three questions asked.
Additional information from the search warrants revealed Elisa Baker had numerous reports and subsequent investigations starting in 1999 made to the Department of Social Services regarding allegations of her abuse against her biological children.
Elisa Baker remains in Catawba County jail under a $97,200 bond for felony obstruction of justice and other charges unrelated to Zahra's disappearance.