Robert C. Reed  /  AP
Doug Dupell, left, street maintenance supervisor for the City of Hickory and Hickory Police Investigator Rob Burwell sift through mulch at the home Zahra Baker for the second day in a row, Thursday, Oct. 28, 2010 in Hickory, N.C.. Law enforcement agencies are going through the residence and backyard for more evidence. (AP Photo/The Hickory Daily Record, Robert C. Reed)
updated 11/1/2010 4:11:53 PM ET 2010-11-01T20:11:53

A prosthetic leg found last week in brush off a road in Caldwell County is that of a missing 10-year-old girl presumed to be dead, investigators confirmed Monday.

Medical records obtained from Australia where the left prosthetic leg of Zahra Baker was originally fitted matched the serial number on the leg found on Wednesday, the Hickory Police Department said in a news release.

A scanner was used to extract the serial number from a transponder placed inside the prosthesis.

Investigators continue to search the family home in Hickory for evidence related to Zahra's disappearance. Zahra was fitted with an artificial leg after losing hers to bone cancer.

Zahra's father, Adam Baker, 33, reported her missing Oct. 9. Authorities think she is dead.

Baker is free after posting bond last week on charges unrelated to his daughter's disappearance. He was arrested a week ago Monday on charges of assault with a deadly weapon, failure to return rental property, writing worthless checks and other charges.

Searchers found the leg near some brush by a home where Zahra's stepmother, Elisa Baker, once lived, Hickory Police Maj. Clyde Deal has said.

The prosthetic leg was discovered Tuesday afternoon near some brush in Caldwell County near the home. Deal said the family lived at several locations in the county and that he wasn't sure how long ago they occupied that house.

Adam and Elisa Baker told police they had last seen Zahra in her bed at their home in Hickory, about 50 miles northwest of Charlotte. But police don't believe them.

Investigators said Zahra may have been alive when the family moved to a new home in North Carolina in mid-September, but they've had trouble finding anyone else who has seen her in recent months.

Elisa Baker, 42, has been charged with obstruction of justice. Police said she acknowledged writing a bogus ransom note found at the scene of a fire in the family's back yard on the day her stepdaughter was reported missing.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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