Zahra Clare Baker

November 16, 1999- September 24, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial

Zahra Baker's life had not been easy early on. At the age of five, Cancer had caused her to lose a leg, she ended up with lung Cancer and she was also deaf. Zahra's mother, Emily Dietrich was suffering from Postpartum Depression and Adam Baker would become a single parent. Adam met a woman while visiting an online web site, her name was Elisa Fairchild and not knowing much about her past, he moved to be with her. Adam and Elisa, who was American, married which caused concern for family back home in North Carolina, since Elisa was still married.

One bright spot in Zahra's life was the day she received hearing aids.

On October 9, 2010, the fire department was called to home in North Carolina, where a woman said there was a fire in her back yard. Elisa Baker had called in the report of a fire and said she noticed the fire when she got out of bed. The fire ended up being a mulch pile that was burning. After the fire was put out, Officer Rollins, a fireman, noticed that the doors on the passenger side of a vehicle were open. On the windshield, was an envelope which read:

"Mr. Coffey, you like being in control. Now who is in control? We have your daughter and your
pot smoking read head son is next unless you do what is asked. 1,000.000 unmarked. Will be
in touch soon. No cops"

Marc Coffey was the owner of the home where the Baker family lived and when the fire department contacted him, he and his family were okay and his daughter had not been taken. The fire was called arson and the firemen left the home.

At about 2:00 p.m. that very day, Adam Baker called the Police to his home and said someone had poured gas on the
inside of his vehicle and told them about the note which had been left earlier and also told them that he believed his
daughter, Zahra, had been taken from their home. A search was done by police, Zahra was not found. News spread
quickly and soon the FBI was involved. At that point, Zahra's stepmother, Elisa, was arrested though police said that
she was not arrested on any charges related to Zahra's disappearance, rather she had been arrested for bad checks
and not returning things that did not belong to her.

A family member said that Zahra had been locked in room most of the time and was only allowed out a few minutes a day. The same family member said that she believed Zahra was physically abused by Elisa and that Elisa would get
angry and take it out on Zahra stating that the little girl had a horrible home life. REALLY? Again I find myself asking WHY didn't this woman call the Police or Social Services? I am unable to find ANYTHING related to a child abuse report that was made about this women concerning Zahra.

Maria Claxton, who was a member of the South Caroline Search And Rescue Dog Association, was asked by the FBI
to check out the Baker home with a dog which had been trained to find people either living or dead. After allowing the
dog to search the home and all vehicles located on the property, after 15 minutes, the dog had given an alert for the
detection of human remains on two vehicles, one being the silver Chevrolet Tahoe which had been reported to have
been doused inside with gas and the other being a burgundy Toyota Camry. Both vehicles were impounded and an
Amber Alert was issued.

Elisa told police that the family had gone to Oktoberfest that night before Zahra disappeared and when they got home,
she and Zahra had gone to bed. Elisa said she woke up at about 2:30 a.m. and went to check on Zahra before going
back to bed. At 5:20 a.m., Elisa was again awake, this time she saw the fired and called the Fire Department. Elisa
said that she believed someone had set the fire on purpose so they could come into the home while she and Adam were
outside and take Zahra. Adam would tell police that he had not seen his daughter since October 6, 2010 causing Police
to wonder which one of them was lying.

During their investigation, Police went door to door asking if anyone had seen anything and no one had. Police would
soon find out that no one, except supposedly her family, had seen Zahra in over a month until some employees at a
furniture store remembered seeing Zahra and Elisa in the store on September 25th, saying they had specifically
remembered her prosthetic leg as well as her big smile.

Volunteers wanted to start searching for Zahra, however, the police had canceled the Amber Alert and were now
considering the case as a homicide. Elisa was charged with felony obstruction of justice when she finally admitted that
she had written the note which was left on the car.  Adam said he knew nothing about it and didn't know if Elisa had
anything to do with his daughter being missing:

"Maybe. I'm still trying to figure it all out"

In November, a prosthetic leg was found, checked and confirmed to belong to Zahra. The leg had been fitted for Zahra
when she lived in Australia and the serial number was a match. Police had found the leg close to where Elisa had lived
in the past. Also in November, a bone was found in the same area and was being tested to determine if it belong to
Zahra. More bones would be found and tested and revealed to belong to Zahra. A skull found much later, by hunters,
was found to be Zahra. The bones showed signs of having been cut up.

Zahra's biological mother, Emily Dietrich, took the trip to North Carolina from Australia after Police found the bones and
had this to say:

"Still hurt, still crushed. It didn't make a difference trying to prepare myself, it didn't make
a difference to anybody. As hard as it was to hear the news they were telling me, it was just
as hard to watch them cry while they told me and apologized to me. All they wanted was to
find her and bring her back alive. I have to take a step back and think of the possibility that
maybe Adam wasn't involved and maybe he is hurting as well. I can't even attempt to guess
the type of anger that's going to come out of me when we find out"

Emily said that upon her arrival, people were surrounding her and giving her sympathy and that she felt proud that Zahra
was able to bring this community together. Emily had tried many times to contact Zahra and had not been successful.
Adam would move some where else whenever she was able to track Zahra over the internet. Emily had not seen Zahra
since she was eight months old:

"I can't explain the anger, the hurt. He had no right to do an of it, to keep her from me. I never
got to say good bye. I never even got to say hello. Unless you understand the story, you won't
understand that pain"

Zahra's death was officially called a homicide, though the cause was listed as undetermined homicidal violence, since
it was not known how she died, only that she had been dismembered. Zahra's bones would eventually be released to
her family in Australia.

During their investigation, Police learned that Elisa Baker had a questionable past having moved around a lot, she
managed to stay out of the reach of bill collectors as well as Social Services who were investigating her for child abuse.
Elisa had also been married seven times and at times, she was married to more than one man at the same time. The
big question was if Adam Baker had participated in the death and dismemberment of his daughter. Eventually Police
would come to believe that he was not. Elisa started to cooperate with the police after she had been arrested and that
is when they found out for sure that Zahra had been dismembered and her remains were scattered. Elisa told Police
that Adam had helped her scatter the remains of Zahra, however, cell phone records showed that he was not in the
area Elisa claimed he was in.

During her court hearing, Elisa's lawyer, Scott Reilly stated that if had not been for Elisa, Zahra's body would never have
been found. I wonder if he realizes that without Elisa, Zahra's body would still be intact and she would still be alive. She is
NOT a hero for taking Police to the remains of a child she probably killed and for sure dismembered and then scattered
all around in different place.

Captain Thurmond Whisnant stated that Elisa told him that Zahra had died on September 24 after being sick and going
to bed. Elisa said that she went to check on Zahra and she was not responsive and after trying to revive her, Elisa was not able to. Elisa said that Adam had dismembered her body and put it into white trash bags.  Luckily, Adam was able
to prove that he was working that morning. Though I have to wonder, if his daughter was not seen since September 24th,
why didn't he report her missing?

There were witnesses who came forward to say they saw Elisa abuse Zahra physically. At one point, Zahra attended
school with two black eyes and it was reported that she was afraid to go home. Where were the Police and Social
Services when this happened? Some of her ex-husbands claim that Elisa had beaten her children and that is why
Social Services were investigating her in the first place.

In September of 2011, Elisa was in court to plead guilty to second degree murder with aggravating factors to include the
dismemberment of Zahra's body. Adam Baker was in the courtroom that day when Elisa was sentenced to a pathetic
18 years in prison for what she did to Zahra.

A memorial was made for Zahra under a tree outside of her home. Eventually, the memorial was removed and for some
reason the tree was cut down:

"I was just in shock because I mean, it's like the memorial was there. And today, the tree was
down. I don't know if someone did that on purpose. I'm just really shocked"
Elaine Wesselman

The home where Zahra had lived, was being vandalized with people breaking windows and the owner hoped that a
permanent memorial could be built somewhere else stating that all of the toys and stuffed animals that were being left,
had been bagged up and were being taken to a charity called "Christmas Wish House".

J.T. Icenhour is the man who owns the wooded land where Zahra's bones where found:

"Right here is where they first found Zahra. They confirmed it was here through the leg and
bones. We been in here all the time they were searching. It has just been a nightmare. Unreal

J.T. put up a sort of memorial for Zahra and was helping to fund a permanent memorial for Zahra.

At one point, someone had stolen a Bible and an Angel from the memorial. Click here to see the permanent memorial
park that was built to honor Zahra.

Zahra Clare Baker

HICKORY - Zahra Clare Baker, 10, of Hickory, is in the presence of angels and in the arms of her Heavenly Father. Zahra was born on Nov. 16, 1999, in Wagga Wagga, Australia, daughter of Adam Baker and Emily Dietrich. She was a strong, courageous and fun person who was everyone's friend and protective of her family and friends. Zahra never met a stranger and was an inspiration to all those who knew her. She had a beautiful smile, an energetic personality and a wonderful sense of humor that gave her the ability to turn the worst possible situation into a fun situation. Zahra was a very strong-willed individual that allowed her not to hold anything back. She taught her physicians and doctors not to set boundaries; she would set her own boundaries. Zahra was very athletic and won several swimming races in Australia. She attended Granite Falls Elementary School and Hudson Elementary School where she was on the A and B Honor Roll. Zahra is survived by her father, Adam Baker of Hudson; her mother, Emily Dietrich of Australia; paternal grandparents, Karen and Tony Baker of Australia; aunts and uncles, Kate Baker, Gemma Bell, Donna Shaw, David Baker, Scott Baker and Dale Baker, all of Australia; great-aunt, Mandy Edwards of Australia; great-uncles, Lance Edwards and Stephen Edwards, both of Australia; great-grandmother, Lola Edwards of Australia; and stepsisters, Amber Fairchild and Brittany Starbuck. A celebration of life service will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 2, 2010, in the chapel of Drum Funeral Home in Hickory, with the Rev. Larry Cooley officiating. In lieu of flowers, memorials in Zahra's name may be made to
St Jude Children's Research Hospital,
501 St Jude Place, Memphis Tenn. 38105 (1-800-805-5856). Condolences may be sent to Zahra's family at www.drumfuneralhome.com. The family has entrusted funeral arrangements to Drum Funeral home & Cremation Services, 940
29th Ave., NE, Hickory, NC (828) 267-5740

Published in Hickory Daily Record on November 28, 2010

Death Occurred in the state of North Carolina

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