Catawba County Superior Court Judge Nathan Poovey on Tuesday allowed access to search warrants related to a murder investigation that started when 10-year-old Zahra Baker was reported missing on Oct. 9.
The 11 warrants, totaling more than 100 pages, reveal Zahra's stepmother, Elisa Baker, responded deceptively during a police polygraph test, and she detailed how the young cancer survivor was dismembered inside a Hickory house.
Court files were previously sealed, and on Monday, prosecutors attempted to keep the confidentiality of the warrants and the case intact. Poovey ruled, however, that the district attorney's office for the 25th Prosecutorial District neither filed a motion to keep the warrants sealed nor was prepared to defend that motion in a timely manner.
Details from the warrants reveal police investigations surrounding Zahra's apparent murder, including information related to evidence of human remains seized from plumbing in the Bakers' Hickory home on 21st Avenue NW. Warrants also detail investigators' suspicion that Zahra was possibly raped by two men prior to her disappearance.
Be sure to see Wednesday's edition of The Observer News Enterprise for information revealed in search warrants opened Tuesday, as well details on Poovey's order to allow public access to the court documents.