The stepmother of the missing girl Zahra Baker appeared in court today as police confirmed that a prosthetic leg found last week belonged to the disabled 10-year-old who disappeared at the end of summer.
Elisa Baker was driven to court in Burke County, N.C., today in handcuffs and an orange jail jumpsuit for a probable cause hearing on a larceny charge that is unrelated to Zahra's disappearance.
Baker, 42, has been charged with several crimes unrelated to the investigation into Zahra's case. In addition, the stepmother is charged with obstruction of justice for writing a false ransom note before Zahra's was reported missing.
Her appearance in court gave observers a rare look of the woman who kept publicly silent since Zahra vanished. Despite her public silence, police have said she appears to be cooperating with the investigation.
The 10-year-old girl was reported missing Oct. 9, but authorities have said they do not believe she is alive and the most recent siting of the girl was at a furniture store on Sept. 25.
The only evidence of the girl uncovered so far is a prosthetic leg found close to where Elisa Baker used to live. Today police said they the leg was confirmed to have been Zahra's leg. The Hickory, N.C., police said a scanner was used to extract the serial number from a transponder placed inside the prosthesis.
Earlier, police had obtained the identifying number for Zahra's leg from Australia where the leg was originally fitted. The two numbers matched.
Zahra lost her left leg along with most of her hearing in a battle with bone cancer.
Since the girl vanished, her father Adam Baker has also been arrested. He was charged with passing bad checks and assault with a deadly weapon, charges unrelated to her disappearance. Adam Baker, 33, has been released on bond.
The search for Zahra has also turned up a mattress police pulled from a dump and are testing it for DNA matter.
Since the girl disappeared, relatives and neighbors have recalled how Zahra was frequently bruised and accused Elisa Baker of frequently yelling at the girl for walking too slow, locking her in a room all day except for meals, and blaming her bruises on the girl's own clumsiness.
At the vigil for the girl, many people said they now regretted not calling authorities about the girl's treatment at the hands of the stepmother.
Investigators have searched the family's home as well as the remains of a fire behind the house and a woodchipper owned by Adam Baker.