- Special Sections
- Auto Racing
What happened to Zahra Clare Baker? Police continue to put together a timeline regarding, what many fear, were the last weeks of the 10-year-old's life.
2:30 a.m. Oct. 9
Elisa Baker, Zahra's stepmother, claims she saw Zahra sleeping in her bed.
5:30 a.m. Oct. 9
A brush fire is reported in the backyard of the Zahra's residence, located at 21 21st Ave. NW in Hickory.
A Hickory Police officer notices the smell of gasoline coming from a Chevrolet Tahoe parked on the property and finds a hand-written ransom note demanding $1 million in unmarked bills.
2 p.m. Oct. 9
Zahra is reported missing, and police issue an Amber Alert.
12:45 p.m. Oct. 10
A search and rescue dog trained in the recovery of bodies investigate Zahra's residence and vehicles found on the property. Shortly after, the dog gives a positive alert for human remains.
Elisa Baker is arrested for charges unrelated to Zahra's search, including writing bad checks and driving with a revoked license.
10:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. Oct. 11
Hickory Police Department holds a press conference to ask for the public's help in Zahra's search. Police Chief Tom Adkins says police can't confirm if anyone outside of Zahra's immediate family saw in the last month.
Evening of Oct. 11
Elisa Baker admits during questioning at the Catawba County Justice Center to writing the ransom note. She is charged with obstruction of justice.
11:30 a.m. Oct. 12
Adkins cancels the Amber Alert for Zahra and says the case will continue as a homicide investigation.
10 a.m. Oct. 13
Elisa Baker appears in court at the Catawba County Justice Center in Newton. Her bond for the obstruction of justice charge is set at $40,000. Scott Reilly, Elisa Baker's attorney, said she is "scared to death."
Investigators drain a pond in Burke County for clues in Zahra's disappearance.
6:30 Oct. 13
East Hickory Baptist Church holds a candlelight vigil for Zahra with more than 100 people attending to offer prayers and hope.
Oct. 13, 14
The search for Zahra continues at a wooded property in Burke County where wood chipper equipment was being kept.
2 p.m. Oct. 15
Burke County Sheriff's Office says the search is complete at the Burke County property, and Zahra was not located. Officials said there are no plans to continue a search in Burke County unless additional leads surface.
Morning of Oct. 15
Investigators return to search Zahra's house at 21 21st Ave. NW in Hickory. Canine search and rescue dogs were on the property, but Maj. Clyde Deal with the Hickory Police Department, declines to comment about whether the dogs were alerted to any human remains or what items were taken from the residence. Investigators could be seen removing a mattress and other items from the home.
6 p.m. Oct. 15
Deal says police have no further intentions at this time to search the Burke County property.