Police Search for Missing NC Girl; Stepmother Questioned

An undated photos provided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation shows Zahara Clare Baker a hearing-impaired Carolina girl with a prosthetic leg who is missing. The girl was last seen by here stepmother at 2:30 a.m. Saturday Oct. 9, 2010.

HICKORY, N.C. - A hearing-impaired North Carolina girl with a prosthetic leg vanished over the weekend, and her father said Monday it was possible that his wife was involved in the disappearance.

The 10-year-old girl's stepmother, Elisa Baker, was in police custody, charged with about a dozen crimes unrelated to the disappearance of Zahra Clare Baker. The child was reported missing Saturday afternoon in Hickory in western North Carolina.

Zahra's father, Adam Baker, told ABC's "Good Morning America" he hadn't seen his wife much since police were called.

"I just hope I can get my daughter back. I miss her so much," he said, choking up, as he was interviewed alongside the Hickory police chief.

Adam Baker said his wife told him that she last saw Zahra sleeping in her bed about 2:30 a.m. Saturday. A fire was reported in the backyard of the Bakers' home about 5 a.m. He said he was in a big panic after the fire, but didn't check on his daughter.

The FBI was involved in the investigation, and police have collected surveillance video from businesses near the family's home and used dogs to search the neighborhood. Hickory Police Chief Tom Adkins said he couldn't rule out any suspects, including Adam Baker.

"As the time progresses, we might be able to rule out folks. But right now, every possibility is out there," Adkins said.

Adam Baker was asked if he thought his wife was involved and said, "I wouldn't like to think so. On what I've heard so far, it could be possible."

Citing an ongoing investigation, the chief wouldn't elaborate on what Baker had heard.

Zahra had bone cancer and uses hearing aids in both ears and a prosthetic left leg from the knee down. She doesn't have her hearing aids with her, police said.

Elisa Baker was arrested Sunday on charges including communicating threats, writing worthless checks, larceny and driving with a revoked license.

It was unclear whether she has an attorney.

Hickory, a city of 40,000 residents, is about 50 miles north-northwest of Charlotte.


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