Zahra Baker Case: Searching for Evidence in Landfill

Police search after learning model and serial number of girl's prosthetic leg.

ByABC News
October 15, 2010, 12:52 PM

Oct. 20, 2010— -- Investigators have turned their search for 10-year-old Zahra Baker's remains into a hunt for evidence in a North Carolina landfill, police said today.

A team from the Hickory, N.C., police department along with state and federal officials "are searching for a piece of evidence" in a landfill roughly 20 miles from the disabled girl's home, but are not expecting to find the girl's body there.

"We hope that if we find this evidence that it will provide a good, solid timeline that will assist us in working this case," Hickory Police Chief Tom Adkins told reporters today.

Adkins said that information gleaned from several interviews led the police to the landfill where they could be searching for days. Adkins would not disclose what the piece of evidence was, but police interest in the landfill came about a day after authorities combed through Zahra's medical records and found the model and serial number for her prosthetic leg. Zahra, who was reported missing on Oct. 9, lost her left leg and hearing in a childhood battle with cancer.

The landfill police are searching services the region in which the Bakers live. Police said that once they determine which part of the landfill to search, they will "definitely have to dig down."

Zahra's stepmother, Elisa Baker, was arrested the day after the girl was reported missing on several charges unrelated to Zahra's disappearance. Days later, police said Elisa Baker admitted to writing a ransom note for $1 million in connection with the case. She has been charged with felony obstruction of justice.

Elisa Baker's bond was raised from $40,000 to $65,000 today by a judge who cited "disturbing and unsettling" allegations surrounding the obstruction of justice charge, ABC News affiliate WSOC reported. During the bond hearing, Elisa Baker's adult daughter, Amber Fairchild, took the stand to say that she feared her mother.

It was also revealed in court that Elisa Baker had received $10,000 over the past year from a man identified as Carver Fullman from England, WSOC reported.

Police are still looking for anyone to come forward with information or sightings of the girl any time in the last month. Outside of the girl's parents, who said they last saw her in bed the morning she went missing, authorities have only been able to find a single witness, a furniture store owner, who said they had seen the girl in the past few weeks.

On Tuesday police released two 911 calls made by Zahra's father, Adam Baker, and stepmother on the same day their daughter was reported missing.

In the first call, obtained by ABC News' Charlotte affiliate WSOC, Elisa Baker reports that a fire has broken out in the family's back yard.

Police told WSOC-TV Tuesday that they believe the fire had been set deliberately, but no one has been charged in connection with the incident.

Eight hours later on the morning of Oct. 10, Adam Baker, 33, made a second 911 call to report his daughter was missing, police said.

"Hey, how are you doing? I need police," a seemingly calm Adam Baker said to one dispatcher, before he was transferred to a second dispatcher, who took down his information.

On a recording of the second call obtained by ABC News, Adam Baker said that the last time he saw his daughter was at 2:30 that Saturday morning. But two days later on "Good Morning America," Adam Baker said that because of his work schedule, he hadn't seen the girl since Thursday. The girl's stepmother, Elisa Baker, was the last one to see her alive at 2:30 a.m. on Saturday, Adam Baker said.

Adam Baker has said that it is possible Elisa Baker was involved in his daughter's disappearance.