Private memorial set for Zahra

Drum Funeral Home announced Tuesday that Zahra's family will hold a private memorial service.

The Hickory girl was reported missing Oct. 9, and police in Hickory announced Nov. 12 that they believed they had enough evidence to show that the Australian native was in fact deceased.

Visitors may stop by the funeral home to sign a register book and view a memorial tribute to Zahra from 5-7 p.m. Thursday and 1-4 p.m. Friday.
The search for Zahra and the investigation into her death gripped this area for sure, but also drew global coverage, as national and international media outlets have followed her story since October.

Zahra was born Nov. 16, 1999, in Wagga, Wagga, Australia, to Adam Baker and Emily Dietrich. She would have celebrated her 11th birthday two weeks ago. Instead, a vigil in her memory was held in Hickory on that day. A growing number of memorials remembering Zahra have been set up at her home in Hickory and at sites in Caldwell County where police located pieces of evidence tied to her disappearance and death.

She survived a form of bone cancer that led to the loss of her left leg as well as her hearing. She managed to overcome those physical limitations with a prosthetic leg and the use of hearing aids.

Her death notice from Drum Funeral Home describes her as a strong, courageous and fun person who was everyone’s friend and protective of her family and friends. She never met a stranger and was inspiration to all who knew her. It continues by describing her as having a beautiful smile, an energetic personality and wonderful sense of humor that gave her the ability to turn the worst possible situation into a fun situation.

Zahra also is described as a strong-willed person, as evidenced by her ability to overcome the bone cancer that plagued her, teaching others not to set boundaries in the process. She was on the A and B honor rolls while enrolled in school at Granite Falls and Hudson.

With the exception of her father and two step-sisters, the rest of Zahra’s family members reside in her native Australia.

Memorials in Zahra’s name can be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105. Condolences to the family can be made at