The Catawba County Grand Jury indicted Elisa Baker Monday, the same day Hickory police confirmed that the prosthetic leg that was found in Caldwell County last week belonged to Elisa’s stepdaughter, Zahra.
Elisa Baker, 42, was indicted on one count of felony obstructing justice. The indictment stated that the offense happened on Oct. 9, the day Zahra was reported missing by her father, Adam Baker. According to the indictment, Elisa “unlawfully, willfully and feloniously did with deceit and intent to defraud a police investigation, obstruct justice by constructing and placing a false ransom letter and reporting an abduction of her stepdaughter, Zahra Baker.”
Elisa is currently jailed under a $92,200 bond. Of that, $65,000 is for the obstruction of justice charge. The remaining bond is for other charges Elisa faces unrelated to the disappearance of her stepdaughter.
Zahra’s disappearance was first believed to be a missing persons case. However, just three days into the investigation, on Oct. 12, Hickory police changed it to a homicide investigation, but declined to state what made them change their determination. Someone outside the family last saw Zahra, age 10, on Sept. 25 at a furniture store in Hickory. She was with Elisa.
Zahra, a cancer survivor, lost her lower left leg to the illness, as well as part of her hearing. She used a prosthetic leg and hearing aids as a result. The two hearing aids were found at the home when she was reported missing, but her prosthetic leg was not.
On Tuesday, Oct. 26, Hickory police found a prosthetic leg in the brush off Christie Road in Caldwell County. On Monday, police confirmed that the prosthetic was, in fact, Zahra’s.
“The medical records matched the serial numbers on this prosthesis,” said Tom Adkins, chief of the Hickory Police Department.
There was a transponder on the inside of the prosthesis found on Christie Road, and Hickory police had to use a scanner to determine the serial number, Adkins said.
Police then had to contact the facility in Australia that fitted Zahra’s prosthesis to determine if it was the same one that was found in Caldwell County.
Adkins explained why the process took some time, saying not only did the police department need to get assistance with scanning the transponder, but that the records couldn’t just be emailed.
“When you are getting medical records from another country, to positively confirm it, you need to have the records mailed to you and have them in-hand,” he said