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Documents reveal new possible suspects in Zahra Baker death

By Gary L Wright and Fred Clasen-Kelly
gwright@charlotteobserver.com

Ten-year-old Zahra Baker may have been raped before she was murdered, and her dismembered body then concealed in a bed comforter and car cover, and discarded in a Dumpster behind a grocery store, according to court documents released this afternoon.

The documents don't reveal how the girl died, but they suggest that acquaintances of Zahra's stepmother may have played a role in the girl's death. The records detail for the first time Elisa Baker's account of what was done with Zahra's body, and offer a glimpse of evidence police have uncovered.

In a statement to police, a source relays information that two men may have raped Zahra. When asked if they killed her, the source said "they might have hit her in the head."

The documents do not explain that, if someone else killed the girl, why the Bakers would conceal her death.

Judge Nathaniel Poovey ordered that the previously-sealed documents be released this afternoon.

The documents also show:

-- Elisa Baker's attorney, Lisa Dubs, told an investigator that latex gloves were used while Zahra's body was dismembered. Dubs also said investigators might find remains in the bathtub drain.

-- Through her attorney, Elisa Baker said she and her husband Adam Baker -- Zahra's father -- dumped a mattress and box springs at a trash dump in Granite Falls.

-- Elisa Baker directed investigators to the Fox Ridge apartments in Hickory. Through her attorney, she admitted that she and Adam Baker wrapped Zahra's prosthetic leg in a white trash bag and threw it in the apartment Dumpster.

-- On Oct. 10, a dog trained in recovery of bodies gave a positive alert for the presence of human remains in or on two vehicles at the Baker home in Hickory.

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