Can-Do-Ability: Answers and Solutions from my personal experiences of living with a disability

Fourteen Years In Prison For Murdering Ten Year Old Girl, Where Is The Justice???

16 Sep 2011In Australia, someone is reported missing approximately every fifteen minutes... In fact, 35,000 people are reported missing ‘down under’, every year, 95% are located within a short time. Only a very small amount of these statistics equate to missing children.

When you think of high profile missing children cases, what names spring to mind? I know I’ll always remember Madeleine McCann, Azaria Chamberlain, JonBenet Ramsey and now, Zahra Baker.

Zahra Baker, was born in Wagga Wagga, a southeast Australian town, on 16th November, 1999. In two months, she would have celebrated her twelfth birthday, which would’ve been a huge accomplishment, considering everything that she’d endured throughout her young life.

When Zahra was a baby, her mother, Emily Deitrich, suffered from severe post natal depression, and had very little to do with her upbringing. Zahra’s father Adam, who had sole custody of their daughter, raised her for most of her life, along with his mother, Karen Baker.

By age 5, Zahra was facing some of the toughest times anyone of her age should have to go through. She was diagnosed with bone cancer, and had to have part of her left leg amputated. Due to the invasive cancer treatment, she also lost her hearing. The cancer returned some time later, and Zahra had to have part of her lung removed.

By 2008, Zahra was in remission, and undoubtedly excited about a big move her and her father were about to embark upon. Adam had met an American woman online, and after meeting, Adam and his new lady, Elisa, decided to marry. Adam chose to pack up his life, and move to North Carolina with Zahra, to start all over again. He had hopes of extending his family with his new bride, and eventually giving Zahra some brothers or sisters to play with.

By 2009, everything appeared to be going along fine, Adam was working long hours, and claims that he rarely got to see Zahra, but trusted that his wife Elisa was taking adequate care of his precious daughter. However, friends and neighbours recall small indications that should’ve alerted them to the fact that something wasn’t quite right.

Reports have emerged that Zahra suffered from unexplained black eyes, bruises and scratches while in the care of her new stepmom. When queried about this, Adam says that Elisa always had logical explanations as to why these injuries were occurring, so he had no reason to be suspicious.

In September of 2009, Adam called the police, to report Zahra missing. A ransom note was found on the family car outside Adam and Elisa’s house, demanding $1 million in return for Zahra. Elisa was placed under arrest for crimes unrelated to Zahra’s disappearance, but while in custody, some of Zahra’s remains were found cut up, in plastic bags, strewn across scrubland in Hickory, North Carolina.

Elisa was later linked to Zahra’s death, and has since pled guilty to second degree murder, leading police to where parts of Zahra’s body were found. Adam and Zahra’s mother, Emily, still want to know where the rest of their daughter lies. Police are still searching for her skull, right arm, right leg and left forearm and hand, once these are recovered, the family wishes to bring Zahra home to Australia, for a proper burial.

Adam has been cleared of any involvement in the murder case, despite the public remaining suspicious of him, finding it difficult to believe that his daughter could be missing for almost two weeks without his knowledge, before police were contacted.

To most of the public’s outrage, Elisa was sentenced to a light 14 – 18 years in prison, charged with second degree murder. She has never disclosed of how Zahra died, only ever claiming that she believes it was of an ‘illness’ and she found her unresponsive, if this were the case, it would also not explain why she dismembered Zahra’s body.

The local residents of Hickory, North Carolina, have been very supportive throughout Zahra’s murder case, and had high hopes of her killer being brought to justice, but so far, they feel, that a minimum of 14 years in prison, for taking a 10 year olds life, is just not enough.


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