Police in North Carolina investigating the death of 10-year-old disabled girl Zahra Baker have handed the case over to prosecutors, leading to speculation that a suspect in the young girl's murder will be arrested imminently.
According to the Hickory Daily Record, Hickory, N.C. police Chief Tom Adkins said the district attorney will review the case and make a decision.
"We turned over a preliminary case file to the District Attorney's Office for him to start reviewing and consider what course of action he wants to take concerning who he wants to charge and what charges he wants to pursue," Adkins told the newspaper.
Baker's dismembered remains were found early last month after a month-long search. Though no one has been arrested in connection with her death, her stepmother Elisa Baker has been jailed on obstruction of justice charges. Police say she wrote a fake $1 million ransom note, which was discovered at the family's home the day Zahra was reported missing.
The remains of Baker, whose struggle with cancer left her wearing a prosthetic leg and hearing aids, were discovered scattered in rural areas during a search in Caldwell County, N.C., where the Baker family previously lived. Police had looked through the area earlier while accompanied by her stepmother.
Two weeks before police announced they had discovered Zahra Baker's remains, Elisa Baker indicated in a jailhouse letter that the child was dead, but expressed no remorse or guilt -- only self-pity and vague accusations against her husband, Adam Baker.
In the letters -- written to crime memorabilia dealer Eric Gein while she was in custody -- Elisa Baker said Adam did something "horrifying" to Zahra after she was dead. Adam Baker's attorney told ABC News in November that those claims were nothing more than a "desperate" attempt at distraction.
"I was trying to save us both, but why should I? He is letting everyone destroy me," Elisa Baker wrote, referring to Adam Baker.
In an earlier letter Elisa Baker wrote, "We really didn't kill her, but what he [Adam Baker] did after the fact is kinda horrifying ... [It] makes me scared of him. So I probably am gonna go ahead and file [for divorce]. I have lost my whole life anyway."
Police have said that Elisa Baker has consistently cooperated with their probe.
Gein, who runs the website SerialKillersInk.net, told ABC News he contacted Elisa Baker by letter weeks ago under an assumed name. The letters he received in return describe strained life in the Baker home. She allegedly signed one letter, "Dark Love Always, Elisa."
Adam Baker, 33, is free on bail after he was arrested last month on unrelated charges, including five counts of worthless checks, two counts of communicating threats, one count of assault with a deadly weapon and one count of failure to return rental property.
Mark Killian, an attorney for Adam Baker, said news of the letter is just another painful hit for the man who recently learned that his daughter is dead.
"These accusations are ... I don't know what to say," Killian told ABC News. "Mr. Baker obviously categorically denies any of this. ... We just see these writings as desperate attempts of someone incarcerated to divert attention away."
Killian said Adam Baker took the news of his daughter's death as "shock ... just the worst nightmare."
Zahra was reported missing by her stepmother and father on Oct. 9, but police say no one outside of the family has reported seeing her since Sept. 25.
The girl had a grueling life. Stricken with bone cancer, she lost her left leg and much of her hearing. Relatives and neighbors said Elisa Baker was abusive to Zahra, who was often bruised.
Zahra's birth mother, Emily Dietrich, flew from her home in Wagga Wagga, Australia, last month and visited the Hickory, N.C., house where Zahra had been living with her father and stepmother.
Dietrich had given up custody of her daughter when she was a baby. Zahra later moved with her father to America when he decided to marry Elisa Baker, who he had met on the Internet.
Dietrich, who hadn't seen her daughter since the girl was 8 months old, has since expressed hope that Adam Baker was not involved in her murder.
"I have to take a step back and think of the possibility that maybe Adam [Baker] wasn't involved and maybe he is hurting as well," Emily Dietrich told the Australia-based Seven Network.