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Elisa Baker is indicted on bigamy charges

Zahra Baker's stepmother was indicted Tuesday for bigamy, accused of marrying Adam Baker in Australia before divorcing her previous husband.

Also Tuesday, police said loggers found a briefcase and a stained blanket that may contain more evidence related to Zahra's death.

The bigamy indictment is the latest charge against Elisa Baker, who was arrested for obstruction of justice days after Zahra was reported missing in October.

Zahra's father, Adam Baker, married Elisa in Australia in July 2008. Zahra was reported missing in October. The 10-year-old girl's body was dismembered and her remains discarded.

Court documents obtained by the Observer show Elisa and her former husband of 10 years, Aaron Young, separated in May 2008 and divorced on August 21, 2009 - more than a year after Elisa and Adam Baker were married. Elisa Baker had told Adam Baker that Young was her brother, police said.

Elisa Baker and Young have remained in frequent contact, police say, and photos of Zahra with Young appear on the Facebook pages for both Elisa Baker and Young.

Bigamy is a low-level crime that brings little punishment. Elisa Baker, who has no felony convictions, would face probation if convicted.

Police, meanwhile, are continuing their investigation into Zahra Baker's death. Zahra had survived cancer, lost a leg and had a hearing impairment.

Police said it's unclear what role, if any, the briefcase and blanket found Tuesday will play in the case.

The briefcase was found near the section of Christie Road where police found a bone fragment belonging to Zahra and the gel liner from her prosthetic leg.

Investigators said they've sent the blanket to the State Bureau of Investigation in Raleigh for analysis.

The blanket had a dark stain on it, but Deputy Chief Clyde Deal said he wasn't sure if the stain was blood and that police are awaiting test results.

The investigation into Zahra's death has focused largely on what role, if any, Elisa Baker played, according to search warrants unsealed in recent weeks.

Elisa Baker told authorities that Zahra died on Sept. 24 - two weeks before the girl was reported missing. She accused Adam Baker of dismembering his daughter, and said she and Adam Baker dumped Zahra's body parts in various locations, according to court documents.

Family members have told the Observer that Zahra had been sick and that Elisa and Adam Baker didn't take her to the hospital. They said the Bakers might have feared authorities because Adam Baker was in the country illegally and because DSS had investigated Elisa Baker.

Both Elisa and Adam Baker have denied any wrongdoing. Staff writer Gary L. Wright contributed.

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