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.