Investigators searching for the missing North Carolina girl Zahra Baker are analyzing human remains found while combing through an area that they had previously checked.
The remains were discovered while searching along Dudley Shoals Road in Caldwell County and the banks and waters of the adjacent Gunpowder Creek, ABC News affiliate WSOC-TV reported today.
Police had looked through the area earlier while accompanied by Zahra's stepmother Elisa Baker. The stepmother is being held on charges relating to the disabled girl's disappearance.
WSOC reported that police were checking the banks of the creek, divers were checking the water and holes as large as 10 feet across had been excavated by searchers.
The remains will be analyzed at the State Bureau of Investigation's lab, WSOC reported.
A spokesman for the Hickory, N.C., police department declined to confirm the discovery of the remains and told ABC News, "The only thing I can share is that yesterday we recovered evidence that could provide valuable information in the Baker case."
Zahra, who was 10, was reported missing by her stepmother and father, Adam Baker, on Oct. 9, but police say no one outside of the family has reported seeing her since Sept. 25. Police have said they believe Zahra is dead.
The girl had a grueling life. Stricken with bone cancer, she lost her left leg and much of her hearing. Relatives and neighbors said that Elisa Baker, 42, was abusive to Zahra, who was often bruised. Her prosthetic leg was found recently on Christy Road, in the same rural area that today's remains were uncovered.
Last week, investigators discovered a bone that police say "may be related to" the case. Police have sent the bone to a medical examiner's office to determine its relation to the case.
Police have also searched a landfill, the Bakers' home, areas where Elisa Baker formerly lived, and drained two ponds on the hunt for Zahra's remains. They pulled a mattress from the landfill and are testing it for DNA evidence, police have said.
Next Tuesday, Nov. 16, would have been Zahra's 11th birthday. The Children's Protection Council, a local community organization, will hold a vigil in the town center in her honor.
Elisa Baker remains in jail after admitting to writing a fake $1 million ransom note, discovered the day she and her husband reported Zahra missing. The Bakers deny any involvement in their daughter's disappearance.
Zahra Baker Search Discovers Human Remains
Jailhouse letters, apparently written by Elisa Baker, claim police know exactly where the girl's body is located.
The letters maintain neither Elisa Baker nor her husband killed Zahra, but that the father did something "horrifying" after the girl was dead.
The letters, obtained by ABC News, appear to shift any blame from Elisa Baker to her husband Adam Baker.
"We really didn't kill her, but what he did after the fact is kinda horrifying," Elisa Baker wrote to crime memorabilia dealer Eric Gein from jail. "[It] makes me scared of him. So I probably am gonna go ahead and file [for divorce]. I have lost my whole life anyway."
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."
Further down the page between doodles of candles and a spider she writes, "Goth's Rule [sic]" and "Vamps Rule!" The comments are similar to those made on a MySpace page believed to belong to Elisa Baker.
"The cops know where she is and what he has done," she wrote, apparently referring to her husband.
"[Adam Baker] knows what happened to Zahra, and yet I'm the one in here at least for now," she writes.
Adam Baker was taken into custody last month on unrelated charges including assault with a deadly weapon, but is currently free on bond.