Video: Bone found near search site for missing N.C. girl staff and news service reports
updated 11/4/2010 12:35:08 PM ET 2010-11-04T16:35:08

A bone found in isolated North Carolina woods where hunters are known to dispose of deer carcasses was being tested to see if it belongs to a missing 10-year-old cancer survivor, according to reports.

Zahra Baker's stepmother Elisa Baker, 42, has been jailed on an obstruction of justice charge since the weekend the girl disappeared. A Catawba County grand jury indicted her on the charge Monday.

Police said Elisa Baker admitted to writing a bogus ransom note found at the scene of a fire in the family's backyard on the day her Australian-born stepdaughter was reported missing.

NBC station WCNC reported that police in Hickory, N.C., found the bone, which they believe may be human, after spending part of Wednesday draining a pond and searching the woods nearby.

WCNC said the bone was found near where a prosthetic leg that belonged to Zahra was discovered.

'Throw their trash out'
Baptist pastor Nicky Waters, who lives nearby, told WCNC that the searchers were "looking at and under everything they see."

"Sometimes people put animal carcasses beside the road, there's an area down there where there are no houses, so in the dark of night they kind of throw their trash out," he added.

The bone was to be tested at the State Medical Examiner’s Office, WCNC said.

Zahra's father reported her missing Oct. 9 and authorities believe she is dead.

Searchers found the prosthetic leg on Wednesday last week at a home where Zahra's stepmother once lived, Hickory Police Maj. Clyde Deal said.

Zahra's leg was amputated because she contracted bone cancer.

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Police said the serial number on the leg matched medical records that detectives collected from the girl's native Australia.

Police said a scanner was used to pull the serial number from a transponder inside the leg.

Authorities released no other details at the time, saying only that investigators continue to search the family's home in Hickory for additional evidence.

Deal said that the family lived at several locations in the county and that he wasn't sure how long ago they occupied that house.

Authorities have said that the stepmother was cooperating with the investigation.

She and Zahra's father Adam 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.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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