LATEST UPDATE from the ABC this morning…Very sad that they seem to have found little Zahra Baker’s remains…
ELIZABETH JACKSON: Police in Hickory, North Carolina, are holding a press conference to announce what they’re describing as a significant development in the disappearance of 10-year-old Australian girl Zahra Baker. They’ve been searching for her for over a month, but new evidence was recovered and sent to a police laboratory for analysis yesterday.
Our Washington correspondent Craig McMurtrie joins us now with the latest. Craig what have investigators announced this morning?
CRAIG MCMURTRIE: Well, a very sombre Hickory police chief Tom Adkins spoke to reporters, He didn’t take questions; he just gave a statement saying that it was with great regret that he was standing before the reporters today to say that police believe they know have enough recovered evidence to believe that they have found Zahra Baker.
This is based on DNA results back on a bone that was found some time ago at a place called Christie Road, just outside Hickory, where Zahra Baker lived with her American stepmother and Australian father. They have matched DNA from that bone with samples taken from personal items from the family home.
He’s also saying that medical examiners at the site nearby, at a place called Gunpowder Creek, where investigators found human remains yesterday, that those medical examiners are saying that the remains recovered are consistent with a child.
They have been sent to a police laboratory. The police chief is saying that final conformation hasn’t been made yet, but they will take biological cheek swabs from Zahra Baker’s biological mother and father and then they will be able to confirm, but he’s saying that they have enough remains now and enough of an indication to say that they believe they have found Zahra Baker.
ELIZABETH JACKSON: So what happens from here Craig?
CRAIG MCMURTRIE: Well, essentially the analysis will take at least a week. Today, the police chief wouldn’t say how long it would take, but yesterday some of the investigators were saying that the analysis of those remains, which would be proof positive, would take about a week.
They are saying that they won’t be saying much at all to reporters for the next little while because the expectation is that they will now build their case.
So far the investigation really has centred on Zahra Baker’s parents; the American stepmother Elisa Baker, who is facing an obstruction of justice charge and is currently in jail, and her Australian father Adam Baker, who has been released on a bond for unrelated charges.
The case really has focused on those. Adam Baker is said to be cooperating with police, but we’ll have to await further developments.
ELIZABETH JACKSON: How widely has this case been reported in the States?
CRAIG MCMURTRIE: It’s generated a lot of interest. It has generated national attention, and in that community in North Carolina, the community has clearly been shocked by this; there’s shrine now outside the Baker family home.
Locals were going to the site. Word spread very quickly yesterday when search teams went to this place – Gunpowder Creek, where it was said human remains had been found, and locals were going there just to be there; to express solidarity with this 10-year-old girl.
Her story is just so tragic; she survived bone cancer and lung cancer. She moved to America with her Australian father two years ago and now, of course, she has been found dead.
It started out as a missing person‘s case. It quickly became a homicide case, and the chief of police, Tom Adkins, said that the investigators were just devastated that they had not been able to find her alive.
ELIZABETH JACKSON: Craig McMurtrie, thank you. That’s out Washington correspondent Craig McMurtrie with the latest developments on the missing 10-year-old Australian girl Zahra Baker.
- Found Dead Body Likely Zahra Baker’s, Cops Say (cbsnews.com)
- Cops: Remains Likely Those of Missing Girl (foxnews.com)
- Police think they’ve found body of missing NC girl (sfgate.com)
- Zahra Baker’s body found (theage.com.au)
- URGENT: Remains Reportedly Missing Girl (foxnews.com)
- Is It Her: Zahra Baker Search Uncovers Human Remains (abcnews.go.com)