Death of Zahra Baker

Death of Zahra Baker
Wikipedia excerpts

Zahra Clare Baker (November 16, 1999 - September 24, 2010) was born in Wagga Wagga, Australia and was reported missing on October 9, 2010. Only 10 years old at the time of her death, her dismembered remains were found in November 2010. Because of the crime's gruesome nature and the series of events leading up to her death, Zahra's murder received worldwide media coverage.

Zahra Baker was born to Emily Dietrich and Adam Baker who both lived in Wagga Wagga, Australia. Emily Dietrich, who had postpartum depression after Zahra's birth, gave up custody to Adam. Adam took Zahra and moved with his parents to Giru, Queensland in 2004 to work for a sugar mill. Zahra, who was diagnosed with bone cancer in 2005, later suffered a bout of lung cancer as well. As a result, she had the lower part of one leg amputated and had to wear hearing aids. Adam Baker reportedly met Elisa Fairchild (originally from western North Carolina) online on a IMVU gothic website. Elisa Fairchild visited Adam Baker in Queensland and they were soon married. Elisa was previously married 6 times and was still married at the time she married Adam Baker. Zahra's cancer went into remission in 2008, shortly before she moved to the United States from Australia with her father and new stepmother.
North Carolina, U.S.A.

After moving to North Carolina, the Bakers settled in Hickory where Zahra attended public school until she started being home schooled. It is not known, though, if she was ever home schooled at all. It is suspected Zahra was taken out of public school because reports of child abuse were made to the school, implicating Elisa. Many neighbors of Zahra's claimed that Elisa was physically and mentally abusive and neglecting the child. Two teachers visited Zahra's home, after Zahra went to school with a black eye in a public school in Hudson while she was in the fourth grade. Child Protective Services from both Caldwell County and Catawba County visited the various residences of Zahra multiple times before Zahra died. The Bakers had moved a few times in both those counties before settling in Hickory Reports of Elisa's abusive behavior have been investigated by the Department of Social Services in regards to Elisa's own biological children dating as far back from 1999. Elisa has 3 children from 2 different relationships: a daughter born out of wedlock and a son and a daughter from a previous marriage.

A 911 call was made by Elisa on August 9, 2010 at 5:30 am, reporting a fire in the back of the family residence in Hickory. When the police came for the reported fire, there was a ransom note and the smell of gasoline coming from Adam's company truck, a Chevrolet Tahoe. In a second 911 phone call made when Zahra is reported missing on 2 pm on the same day, Adam Baker explained that during a fire in their backyard a $1 million ransom note was found on his company truck the night before, addressed to Adam's boss and landlord, Mark Coffey. Adam explained that they called 911 earlier that day about the fire and implied that whomever started the fire, may have done so in order to distract the alleged kidnapper, in order to take Zahra. Adam explained the purported kidnapper mistakenly confused Zahra for Mr. Coffey's daughter. Mark Coffey's daughter was unharmed and with her family, Adam stated. Adam said the last time he saw his daughter was at 2:30 am. Apparently, Adam Baker left for work early in the morning and did not return until after Zahra went to sleep.

Reportedly, Elisa failed a polygraph test she had taken early in the investigation. She was asked: if she had hurt Zahra, if she knew of anyone who had harmed Zahra and if she knew who wrote the ransom note. On October 10, 2010 search and rescue dogs were sent to search the Baker's house and cars. The dogs gave positive alerts to the smell of human remains on both of the Baker's cars, the Chevrolet Tahoe and a sedan. The police took swabs of what they thought may be blood from the car. On October 10, 2010, Elisa Baker was also arrested for various crimes which included communicating threats, writing bad checks, larceny and driving with a revoked license, crimes unrelated to the death of Zahra. Baker, who was jailed, was next charged with obstruction of justice after admitting that she wrote the ransom note, which led the police astray.


Allegedly, Elisa Baker's aunt, Buzzie Winkler told reporters that Elisa told her, that Zahra died after being sick for 2 weeks and both parents dismembered and hid her remains. Elisa's aunt said: "She'd been sick two weeks before she died, when they found her, I guess they didn't know what to do. They just went wild." Elisa, though, reportedly said Adam dismembered Zahra Baker alone, after she died and they both hid her remains. Elisa also told police that Zahra died on September 24, yet she was not reported missing until October 9.

Allegedly, Eric Gein, owner of Serial killers Ink, a crime memorabilia dealer, used an assumed name and wrote Elisa in the jail she was in. She wrote him back twice sharing some information. According to a letter written to Eric Gein, Elisa wrote: "We really didn't kill her, but what he did after the fact is kinda horrifying." "(It) makes me scared of him."

Reportedly, Elisa's attorney, Lisa Dubs told police where they can find possible evidence relating to Zarah's death. Apparently, Elisa told her attorney that Zahra's prosthetic leg was left in a dumpster that she and Adam had disposed of at Fox Ridge Apartments in Hickory.A prosthetic leg was found in late October off a road in Caldwell County a few miles from a former residence of Elisa's. The Hickory police department were able to match the serial # of the prosthetic leg from Zahra's medical records they obtained from Australia, in order to confirm that it was definitely Zahra's leg.

In November 2010, Elisa Baker started leading police to different areas in Catawba County and Caldwell County to find Zahra's scattered remains. Numerous bones of Zahra was found but Zahra's head was not found.  Allegedly, Elisa had told police she threw Zahra's mattress in a dumpster, and police confirmed the mattress fitting the description was found in a landfill. Elisa Baker also led the police to another dumpster, behind a grocery store in Hudson, where she and Adam dumped a car cover and bed cover, which was used to hide and transport Zahra. Elisa also told police they can find Zahra's body parts in the drain trap of the bathtub and that plastic gloves that she used could be found in her bathroom.

The cause of death could not be determined for Zahra, therefore her death was ruled an "undetermined violent homicide". Allegedly, Elisa told the police that both she and Adam Baker disposed of Zahra's remains, but according to cell phone towers, Elisa was in the area where Zahra's remains were found, but Adam was not. Investigators believe that Elisa Baker killed and dismembered Zahra on Sept, 24th, 2010 and disposed of her remains the following day. Elisa Baker was indicted by a grand jury, for second degree murder with aggravating circumstances, on February 22, 2011 in Catawba County. The five aggravating circumstances were cited as:
Elisa Baker had a history of physical, verbal and psychological abuse of the child.
She secreted the child from her family, before and after the crime.
She desecrated Zahra’s body to hinder the murder investigation and prosecution.
Zahra was young, and physically infirm/handicapped.
Elisa Baker took advantage of a position of trust.
Elisa would have a first degree murder charge if she had not led law enforcement to Zahra's remains.

Return to top of page Copyright © 2010 | Flash News Converted into Blogger Template by HackTutors