The House of Horrors!

The plan, although hastily conceived, was ready and it seemed like a good one. The shades were drawn making the house dark, because darkness was the preferred atmosphere. Latex gloves and a disposable plastic poncho were worn because it was a messy job. Goggles were secured to protect against flying bits. Two heavy duty trash bags were folded in the corner, on the other side of the toilet. The lid was down on the toilet to help contain the splatter. The gas chamber was topped off and the chainsaw was brought in from the tool shed. Once the job site was secured the bathroom door was closed, and although the house was otherwise empty, the hook lock was secured. After several attempts the saw roared to life. It was time to get busy.
She had been rented to the two men in exchange for a moderate amount of money. After all, times are tough, children aren’t cheap, and money is hard to come by. The men drank cheap whiskey and repeatedly raped the ten-year-old. When they were finally finished one of them, the leader, smacked her repeatedly on the head to stop the incessant sniveling. She stopped crying as she stopped moving. He wiped the sweat off of his brow with the tank top that he had been wearing for the past week and headed toward the living room. The other man, his brother, took the urine and bloodstained mattress outside and leaned it against the side of the house. A phone call was made and she was eventually removed from the premises.
The dark child was now the dead child. Ten-year-old Zahra Baker’s body was dismembered and her remains concealed in a bed comforter and car cover, then discarded in a dumpster behind a grocery store. Her prosthetic leg was wrapped in a white trash bag and thrown in a dumpster at the Fox Ridge Apartments, and the prosthetic liner was discarded off the side of Christie Road, a few miles from where Elisa used to live. Zahra’s father Adam and step-mother Elisa dumped her mattress and box spring at a trash dump in Granite Falls. The little girl who had trouble walking fifteen yards had been scattered over a fifteen mile radius from her home in Hickory, NC.
She could have been saved, but not even the authorities seemed to care until it was too late. Elisa Baker did not disguise the fact that she loathed the ten-year-old one legged, deaf cancer survivor. Elisa Baker was no stranger to the North Carolina Department of Social Services. Numerous reports were made to the Department of Social Services and numerous investigations were conducted regarding the abuse of Elisa’s biological children from as far back as 1999. In July 2010 a report was made to the Caldwell County Department of Social Services that Alisa Baker had physically abused Zahra Baker, resulting in a black eye. Friends and neighbors saw the abuse as instance after instance has been documented on various television and newspaper accounts. Zahra was able to survive two bouts of cancer, but not the malignancy of her home life.
There are some crimes that are so cruel, so evil that words cannot describe them. Zahra Baker’s tragedy rises to that threshold. The house of horrors that Zahra Baker lived in was not a home, but was instead a torture chamber. That her sweet smile even existed seems a miracle when one considers the amount of abuse that she suffered at the hands of cruel caregivers.

The Shark Tank

The sweet smile and angelic face of 10-year old Zahra Baker haunts my dreams. She survived bone cancer at age five, although she lost her left leg below the knee and had to use a prosthetic leg to walk. She survived lung cancer a few years later, but chemotherapy damages her high frequency hearing, causing her to rely upon hearing aids to hear.  Unfortunately, it does not look like little Zahra, who managed to smile through it all, was able to survive the malignancy of abuse, neglect and homicide that she was subjected to at home. It wasn’t until October 9, when Zahra was reported missing to a 911 dispatcher and an Amber Alert was issued that her neighbors, and then the world finally saw pretty little Australian immigrant with the freckled cheeks and trusting brown eyes. Before that, law enforcement had difficulty finding anyone who had seen or spoken with Zahra in a very, very long time.

On the day Zahra was reported missing there was another, earlier 911 call. Her stepmother Elisa reported a fire in the yard. The authorities found a ransom note, addressed to the Baker’s landlord, demanding $1,000,000 for the return of his daughter. The landlord’s daughter was not missing. Several hours later Zahra was reported missing.

On October 12, as Elisa Baker sat in jail awaiting arraignment on unrelated charges, law enforcement abruptly cancelled the Amber Alert and announced, without ambiguity, that they were now investigating Zahra’s disappearance as a homicide. Cadaver dogs had scented human remains in both of the family cars. Elisa Baker admitted that she wrote the ransom note, but her lawyer insisted that she is not a child killer.
Zahra’s stepmother Elisa is a shark, destroying whatever is in her path. She is constantly moving forward, never looking back. She holds no job, and lives a semi-transient lifestyle, never staying in any one place long enough to establish roots or expose her true nature. Elisa’s bio-daughter fears for her own life when she is around her mother. Over the past summer Elisa used the Internet to bilk an Englishman out of $10,000. And now, the little girl who Elisa called the ‘dark child’ on her Goth inspired MySpace page, and to whose care she was entrusted, is missing and presumed dead.

The FBI recently had Elisa, chained in the back of a black SUV, visiting potential crime spots, many of which are in close proximity to her past residences. It is speculated that she is cooperating with the authorities. If so it is a self-serving cooperation. Elisa does not self reflect. Like all sharks she survives by always moving forward, sinking razor sharp teeth into whatever blocks her path; but unlike the shark, she chose to be a predator, it was not a right of birth.

Zahra’s father Adam sees no evil, hears no evil, and speaks no evil, but according to arrest warrants he does write bad checks, and may assault people with deadly weapons. His convoluted 911 call reporting his daughter missing was filled with misdirection, tangents, nervous laughter, and sophomoric justifications. As reports of his wife’s abuse against Zahra surfaced, Adam admitted that it was possible his wife could be involved her disappearance, and that his relationship with Elisa, which began on the Internet two years ago, just might not be everything he thought it was. The little girl he wrenched from a safe and secure home in Australia can neither defend nor deny her dad, for she is presumed dead.

Zahra was discarded. They discarded her mattress, which was found in a landfill covered in DNA. They discarded her prosthetic leg, but it was located along the side of a road, hidden in the bushes. They discarded her memory and tried to discard her history when they removed her from society. The only question that remains is where did they discard her little broken body?

The sweet smile and angelic face of 10-year old Zahra Baker haunts my dreams.