A skull found in North Carolina woods last year has been identified as that of murdered Australian 10-year-old, Zahra Baker.
Zahra Baker’s skull was found by hunters last April in the woods near where Baker was murdered by her stepmother in 2010, Australia’s ABC News reports. The skull was sent to North Carolina’s State Bureau of Investigation for DNA testing last year, though the analysis failed to produce any conclusive identification. Herald Sun reported in January that the skull was then transferred to West Virginia for further testing.
Chief Tom Adkins of the Hickory police said in a statement, the identification of the skull “…brings up the tragedy of Zahra’s death and the life she lived before she was killed, but it also gives us and the community a sense of finally bringing her home.” While the skull has now been identified, there is still no evidence as to exactly how Zahra Baker was killed. CBS records the state medical examiner’s autopsy report classified Zahra’s death as “Undetermined – homicidal violence.”
Elise Baker was arrested in September, 2011 after she pleaded guilty to the murder of her stepdaughter. Baker confessed to killing the girl, desecrating and hiding her body. Baker also confessed she subjected Zahra to verbal, physical and psychological abuse.
Zahra Baker had battled two cases of bone cancer during her short life. She was reported missing in October 2010 by her father, Adam Baker. Shortly after, parts of Zahra’s remains were found in various locations around Hickory. Elise Baker was imprisoned for up to 18 years and Adam Baker was deported back to Australia.
The remains of Zahra Baker are being returned to family members in Australia.