Remains found likely to be Australian girl.


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13-11-2010 08:10 AM


ABC Canberra 666

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ABC Canberra 666


13-11-2010 08:10 AM



13-11-2010 08:46 AM

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2010-11-13 08:10:55

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JACKSON, Elizabeth




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Remains found likely to be Australian girl. -

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Police in Hickory, North Carolina say they believe they've found the remains of missing 10-year-old
Australian girl Zahra Baker. They've been searching for her for over a month. New evidence was
recovered and sent to a police laboratory for analysis yesterday.

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

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.