Police dogs smell remains at missing girl's house

HICKORY, N.C. (AP) — Police dogs detected the smell of human remains on two cars at the home of a missing 10-year-old girl who has bone cancer and a prosthetic leg, a search warrant said Monday.

The document filed in a Hickory court didn’t indicate that police found any remains in their Sunday search. The warrant said the dogs detected the smell on a sedan and SUV belonging to the father and stepmother of Zahra Clare Baker.

Earlier Monday, the police chief cast doubt on the couple’s accounts. They told police they discovered she was missing on Saturday and that one of them had seen her sleeping in her room hours earlier.

But Hickory Police Chief Tom Adkins said at a news conference that investigators were having trouble finding anyone else who had seen the home-schooled girl alive in the last few weeks.

“We don’t know the last time anyone saw her,” he said. “We’re having a difficult time establishing a true timeline.”

The police department declined to comment further on the warrant, saying Adkins would issue a statement on it Tuesday morning.

Zahra’s father, Adam Baker, said during an morning TV interview that it was possible his wife could be involved in the disappearance, which was reported hours after a fire in the home’s backyard. Elisa Baker was arrested Sunday on about a dozen charges unrelated to the girl’s disappearance.

A reporter saw what appeared to be remnants of clothes among burned branches from the fire at the house.

The search warrant said that police responding to the fire early Saturday found what appeared to be a ransom note addressed to Adam Baker’s boss on the windshield of Baker’s car.

“Mr. Coffey, you like being in control now who is in control we have your daughter,” the note said. It asked for $1 million dollars and said “no cops.”

Police went to the boss’s house, and found him and his daughter to be fine.

On Saturday afternoon, Adam Baker called to say his daughter was missing.

___

Associated Press Writers Meg Kinnard in Columbia, S.C., and Martha Waggoner and Mike Baker in Raleigh, N.C., contributed to this report.

The Associated Press