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Judge may decide to release details on slain North Carolina girl

By the CNN Wire Staff
Sealed search warrants may contain details of how Zahra Baker, 10, was killed.
Sealed search warrants may contain details of how Zahra Baker, 10, was killed.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • A key hearing related to the investigation of Zahra Baker, 10, will happen Monday
  • A judge could decide to release search warrants from detectives probing her death
  • Zahra's remains found November 11; over a month after she was reported missing
  • A tipster had suggested Zahra may have been raped, per earlier released warrants

(CNN) -- A judge could decide next week whether some or all of the details in search warrants related to the death of a 10-year-old disabled North Carolina girl will be made public.

Police found some of Zahra Baker's remains on November 11, just over a month after her stepmother Elisa Baker reported her missing. While Elisa has been charged with obstruction of justice -- for writing a fake ransom note and leaving it at the family's Hickory home -- no one has been charged directly in her death.

Meanwhile, the investigation has continued, with detectives requesting numerous warrants related to the case. They asked for an additional 15 sealed warrants on Wednesday in Catawba County court, on top of the many they requested previously.

A motions hearing is scheduled for Monday, December 13, to determine if details of any, some or all of the sealed warrants will be released.

Some of the search warrants obtained by the Hickory, North Carolina, police were made public earlier this month, giving a glimpse into the grisly events that could have led to the death of the freckled-face girl, who lost part of her left leg at age 5 to cancer.

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According to one of the search warrants, a tipster told police that Zahra had been at a North Carolina home with two men and one of the men said "he had done something very bad and needed to leave town."

One of the men was associated with Zahra's stepmother but was not Zahra's father, the tipster said.

The tipster also told police that Zahra had been raped by both men and that she had blood on her private area and legs, the search warrant said. The tipster told police that he got the information about the alleged rape from a friend who was told about it from his sister.

Police went to the home to see if they could confirm the fourth-hand information and found a mattress at the side of the house that "had a large dark stain in the middle," the search warrant said.

The tipster said the men did not admit to killing the girl but did say that they "might have hit her in the head," the search warrant said.

Police were also told by an attorney for Elisa Baker that the girl was dismembered.

In one search warrant, dated October 27, police say they were looking for "latex gloves used while the body of Zahra Baker was dismembered." They also were searching for "white trash bags used to store body parts," the warrant said.

In that warrant, police were seeking to search the Hickory home that Zahra lived in with her stepmother and father Adam Troy Baker.

Besides the obstruction of justice charge, Elisa Baker is accused of writing worthless checks. Police have said she had been cooperating with investigators, including going with them to a search site.

Adam Troy Baker was arrested in late October in nearby Catawba County on eight charges: five counts of writing bad checks and three counts of failing to appear in court. Authorities said the charges were unrelated to Zahra's disappearance, and he was later released on bail.

InSession's Jessica Thill contributed to this report.