HICKORY, N.C. - The following is a timeline of events in the case of Zahra Baker, a 10-year-old Hickory girl who was reported missing in October 2010. Her remains were later discovered and her stepmother was charged in her death.
• Oct. 9, 2010, approximately 2:30 a.m.: Zahra is reportedly last seen sleeping in her bedroom at her Hickory home.
• Oct. 9, 2010, approximately 2 p.m.: Zahra is reported missing by her father and stepmother.
• Morning of Oct. 10, 2010: Zahra's stepmother is arrested on several charges unrelated to the case. The charges include writing bad checks and failing to return property.
• Afternoon of Oct. 10, 2010: Police gather surveillance video from businesses near the home to put together a better timeline of events leading to Zahra’s disappearance. Dozens of police officers go door to door, handing out Zahra’s pictures.
Investigators also follow up on a call to the Hickory Fire Department from the Bakers’ home, where a small fire started on the front lawn.
• Morning of Oct. 11, 2010: Zahra's father appears on “Good Morning America” to plead with anyone with information about Zahra’s disappearance to come forward.
• Afternoon of Oct. 11, 2010: Hickory Police Chief Tom Adkins holds a brief press conference to update the public on the 10-year-old's disappearance.
A search warrant is released that reveals more details about the case. According to the warrant, investigators who responded to the brush fire outside the Bakers’ home found a ransom note inside of a Chevrolet Tahoe that was parked outside.
• Afternoon of Oct. 12, 2010: Hickory police obtain a warrant for Zahra's stepmother after they said she admitted to writing and leaving the ransom note. Elisa is charged with felony obstruction of justice.
• Evening of Oct. 12, 2010: Police search a wooded area late into the night. The area is dozens of miles from where Zahra was reportedly last seen, down a dead-end dirt road off of Hartland Road, north of Morganton. They search around a wood chipper and in mulch piles.
• Morning of Oct. 13, 2010: Zahra's stepmother appears in court.
• Evening of Oct. 13, 2010: Investigators drain a pond and use a dog to sniff through piles of mulch and tree-trimming equipment.
About 150 people gather at a candlelight vigil at East Hickory Baptist Church.
• Oct. 14, 2010: Police launch a massive search at a remote property north of Morganton, but it comes up empty.
• Oct. 15, 2010: Zahra's father is with investigators at the home where Zahra reportedly went missing. K-9s were also seen at the home, searching in wood piles behind it. A plastic bag, a mattress and a box spring are taken out of the home by investigators.
• Oct. 16, 2010: Investigators narrow the timeline of when Zahra was last seen by someone other than a family member to Sept. 25. Police continue to ask the public to contact them with any information that could assist in the case.
• Oct. 17, 2010: K-9 teams continue to search areas identified by tips and interviews.
• Oct. 19, 2010: The 911 call made by Zahra’s father is released.
• Morning of Oct. 20, 2010: Zahra’s stepmother appears in court for a bond hearing. A judge increases her bond from $40,000 to $65,000, citing “disturbing and unsettling” allegations surrounding the charge.
• Afternoon of Oct. 20, 2010: A team of investigators begins searching a landfill in Lenoir in connection with Zahra’s disappearance. In a news conference, Chief Adkins would say only that searchers are looking for a “piece of evidence.”
• Oct. 22, 2010: Police end the landfill search and announce that they were searching for a mattress belonging to Zahra. Searchers tested several mattresses found in the landfill, but did not find Zahra's, police said.
• Oct. 25, 2010: Zahra's father is arrested on charges unrelated to her disappearance. Zahra's stepmother is taken out of jail and leads investigators to three locations in the search for the missing girl.
• Oct. 26, 2010: A mattress matching the description of the one police have been searching for is found. An employee at the Lenoir landfill found it while re-grading the area investigators searched. The mattress is being tested for DNA evidence.
• Oct. 27, 2010: Police announce that a prosthetic leg was found the day before in a rural area off Christie Road in Caldwell County.
• Nov. 1, 2010: Police confirm the prosthetic leg found on Oct. 26 is Zahra's. They matched its serial number to the number on medical records that detectives collected from Zahra's native Australia.
• Nov. 3, 2010: Investigators find a bone in Caldwell County that they said may be related to the case. The bone was sent to the medical examiner's office in Chapel Hill for further examination.
• Nov. 8, 2010: District attorney asks the state attorney general to speed up testing on evidence in the case.
• Nov. 9, 2010: Six Crime Stoppers organizations offer up to $1,000 each for information about Zahra's disappearance.
• Nov. 10, 2010: Searchers find human remains in the Dudley Shoals area of Caldwell County.
• Nov. 11, 2010: Zahra Baker's biological mother, who lives in Australia, travels to Hickory and visits the memorial outside of the Bakers' Hickory home.
• Nov. 12, 2010: Chief Adkins announces that investigators have recovered enough physical evidence to believe they've found Zahra. DNA evidence from the bone found on Nov. 3 matches a DNA sample taken from Zahra's home, and the remains found on Nov. 10 are consistent with those of a child, he said.
• Nov. 29, 2010: Warrants in the investigation are released that say Zahra was sexually abused and dismembered.
• Jan. 18, 2011: Elisa Baker is indicted on bigamy charges. An Associated Press report shows Baker had at least seven husbands.
• Feb. 21, 2011: A grand jury indicts Elisa Baker for second-degree murder. A report from the medical examiner's office is released and lists Zahra's cause of death as "undetermined homicidal violence."
• July 12, 2011: Elisa Baker's attorney files a change of venue motion, saying his client can't get a fair trial in the Catawba County area.
• Sept. 15, 2011: Elisa Baker sentenced to 18 years after pleading guilty to second-degree murder.
• Nov. 17, 2011: Ground was broken for a playground dedicated to Zahra Baker on Nov. 16, which would have been the girl's 12th birthday.
• Dec. 1, 2011: A law inspired by Zahra Baker's case went into effect in North Carolina.
• Dec. 7, 2011: It is announced that Zahra Baker's remains were released to a funeral home sometime in November.
• Jan. 5, 2012: Elisa Baker pleads guilty to conspiring to distribute and possess drugs.
• April, 2012: A skull was found off Winkler Way near Highway 268, Hickory police said. The skull was sent away for DNA testing.
• May 19, 2012: The Zahra Baker Memorial Playground is official opened and dedicated to the memory of Zahra.
• Feb. 21, 2013: DNA testing confirms the skull found off Winkler Way near Highway 268 identified as that of Zahra Baker, Hickory police said.
Timeline of events in Zahra Baker's disappearance
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