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Zahra's remains show 20 cut marks

February 21, 2011

Zahra Baker

Undetermined homicidal violence killed the 10-year-old disabled girl from Hickory who used hearing aids and wore a prosthetic leg to walk.

A recently released autopsy performed Nov. 12 at Office of the Chief Medical Examiner's Office in Chapel Hill revealed Zahra Baker died from unknown violent injuries before her body was dismembered by at least two different cutting instruments.

Because of the number of bones missing from Zahra's skeletal remains, medical examiners weren't able to determine the sex, race or height of the remains, which were found in late October at two different Caldwell County locations. The skeletal remains were linked to Zahra after positive identification from DNA taken from Zahra's toothbrush.

"Most of the bones are not present, most notably the skull," the autopsy report notes. "Several of the bones exhibit cutting-tool marks that are consistent with dismemberment. The marks grossly appear to result from the use of at least two different cutting instruments."

The autopsy details 11 cut marks on Zahra's right thigh bone, which was the leg not injured from cancer treatment. There also appeared to be one cut mark partially through the neck, two cut marks on the surface of the neck and another seven cut marks on the shaft of the thigh bone.

Zahra's spine also showed evidence of cut marks, including two distinct marks along the child's fifth cervical vertebra near the neck, causing bone loss to the child's skeletal remains.

The autopsy confirms reports from Elisa Baker, Zahra's stepmother, who led police to different parts of Caldwell County, where Zahra's remains were found. Elisa told police that Zahra was dismembered after her death, and some of the child's remains could be found in the drain trap of the family's former rental home in Hickory.

The autopsy doesn't detail any signs of healed injuries from previous trauma or injuries, despite allegations from neighbors and family members that Zahra was abused and mistreated prior to her death.

Catawba County Department of Social Services released a statement Monday detailing the department's involvement in investigating reported mistreatment of Zahra. Catawba County DSS interviewed Zahra, Elisa and Zahra's father, Adam Baker, independently, as well as other people close to the situation, and found no evidence of maltreatment or child safety issues.

Caldwell County DSS asked Catawba County's department to investigate the maltreatment claims after receiving reports in July that the family had moved from Caldwell County to Hickory.

Caldwell County received Child Protective Services reports regarding Zahra on Jan. 29. 2010, Feb. 4, 2010, May 28, and July 12. No evidence of maltreatment or child-safety issues were found, according to Caldwell County.

Although Zahra's autopsy doesn't specify exactly what caused the child's death, it does rule out death from accidental or natural causes.

Zahra's left leg was amputated below the knee in 2005 after she was diagnosed with osteosarcoma cancer. The child's ribs show evidence of the right lung lobectomy she underwent in 2007 after her cancer spread.

The medical examiner's office received Zahra's left humerus bone Nov. 4. Measurements of the bone were taken before it was released to Hickory Police Department and taken to the State Bureau of Investigation for DNA analysis.

The humerus bone was returned to the medical examiner's office Dec. 17.
Other bones missing from Zahra's skeleton include her left and right hands, right foot, lower arm bones and sternum.


Zahra Baker Case

February 25, 2011 by Sbunkerhill (not verified), 4 years 12 weeks ago
Comment: 206

Reading this story absolutley sickened me. I have been following the case and I can't understand what could have brought Elisa and Adam Baker to this stage. Taken a child from its life is the worst thing someone could come to. But then, lying and cutting them up more than 20 times is horrific. The father, Adam Baker, is just as disgusting. Knowing that there was more than one way to stop this, including the Social Services call months earlier and no body doing anything about it is wrong. Taking this little girls life away for no aparent reason is morally wrong. How could you slice into the bones of an 11 year old? Tell me this. Both deserve the same feeling they brought to the child. Zahra is in a better place now, and may she rest in piece.

Totally Agree

March 1, 2011 by BHHS-Student12 (not verified), 4 years 12 weeks ago
Comment: 219

I totally agree with you Sbunkerhill, it really is sickening. Zahra deserves justice. & yes may she rest in peace.

Sad Story

February 25, 2011 by BHHS-Student12 (not verified), 4 years 12 weeks ago
Comment: 205

I feel terrible that this happened to 10 year old Zahra Baker. It wasn't fair to her and she didn't deserve it. I feel justice should be served for this innocent little girl.


February 25, 2011 by Matt of Bunker Hill (not verified), 4 years 12 weeks ago
Comment: 201

I would like to know who in their right mind would do this to a poor, innocent girl. I am a student at Bunker Hill High School, and it makes me feel uneasy that someone would do this. If people will do this to children, why would they stop? Who says they wont do this to teenagers, peers of their age, or even the elderly? I think the punishment should be severe for the step-mother. I also beleive that we should seriously start cracking down on this, and not only this, but abuse as well. Parents that abuse their children should get just in just as much trouble as they would for killing the child. Who's with me?

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