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Missing 10-year-old girl's father out of jail

Adam Baker
Booking photo of Adam Baker, the father of missing 10-year-old Zahra Clare Baker. Adam Baker was released from jail Thursday after being held on charges unrelated to the disappearance of his daughter. Police in North Carolina say Baker was arrested and charged with writing bad checks. AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

The father of a missing North Carolina girl is free after posting bond on charges unrelated to his daughter's disappearance.

Adam Baker, 33, arranged for a bondsman to post his $7,000 bail, Catawba County Sheriff Chief Deputy Coy Reid said Thursday. Baker was arrested Monday on charges of assault with a deadly weapon, failure to return rental property, writing worthless checks and other charges.

Hours before Baker's release Wednesday evening, police announced that searchers found a prosthetic leg they think could be the one worn by 10-year-old cancer survivor Zahra Baker. She was fitted with an artificial leg after losing hers to bone cancer. Authorities say the one they found is consistent with hers.

Zahra's father reported her missing Oct. 9. Authorities think she is dead.

Searchers found the leg at a home where Zahra's stepmother once lived, Hickory Police Maj. Clyde Deal 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. Authorities on Tuesday took Elisa Baker to a home where she once lived and Deal said she was cooperating after being jailed since the weekend her stepdaughter was reported missing.

Deal also said a mattress found by workers at a Caldwell County landfill would be tested for DNA evidence.

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.