Episode 22 - The System Failed Zahra Baker

October 9th, 2010 - An Amber Alert was issued for Zahra Baker, a 10 year old girl from Hickory, North Carolina. She was last seen sleeping in her room at 2:30am. Her father and stepmother reported her missing at 2pm that same day. The last time anyone else reported seeing her was two weeks earlier…

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NamUs Case - NamUs #UP15960

Case Updates:

“Man arrested in shooting death of transgender woman, Chanel Scurlock, found in Lumberton field” - ABC 11 article. June 12, 2019.

“Father charged in death of boy whose remains were found under Mebane billboard in 1998” - WRAL article by Sarah Krueger. May 13, 2019.

BREAKING: Craig Hicks pleads guilty to murder of three Muslim students - The Daily Tar Heel article by Brian Keyes. June 12, 2019.

Episode Sources:

“Amber Alert issued for Hickory girl” - WRAL article by Matthew Burns. October 9, 2010.

“Stepmother of missing Hickory girl arrested” - WRAL article by Anne Johnson and Jodi Leese Glusco. October 10, 2010.

“Police dogs smell remains at home of missing child” - WRAL article by Kelly Gardner. October 11, 2010.

“Hickory girl's disappearance now homicide case” - WRAL article by Kelly Gardner. October 12, 2010.

“Police release 911 call in girl’s disappearance” - WRAL article. October 19, 2010.

“Landfill searched for evidence in missing Hickory girl's case” - WRAL article by Ken Smith, Kelly Hinchcliffe, and Anne Johnson. October 20, 2010.

“Search for missing Hickory girl moves to new location” - WRAL article. October 25, 2010.

"Police: Prosthetic leg belonged to missing girl” - WRAL article. November 1, 2010.

“Family of missing 10-year-old girl evicted” - WRAL article. November 2, 2010.

“Police: Remains of missing Hickory girl found” - WRAL article by Ken Smith, Jodi Leese Glusco, and Kathy Hanrahan. November 12, 2010.

“Warrants: Two men may have been involved in Zahra's death” - WRAL article by Jodi Leese Glusco. November 30, 2010.

“Report: Zahra Baker's stepmom cuts deal to avoid death penalty” - WRAL article by Kathy Hanrahan. December 3, 2010.

“Warrant: Hickory girl died weeks before reported missing” - WRAL article by Amanda Lamb and Matthew Burns. January 4, 2011.

“Stepmother of Zahra Baker faces bigamy charge” - WRAL article. January 18, 2011.

“Stepmother indicted in death of disabled NC girl” - WRAL article by Erin Hartness and Matthew Burns. February 21, 2011.

“Stepmother gets up to 18 years in prison for killing Hickory girl” - WRAL article by Matthew Burns and Kathy Hanrahan. September 15, 2011.

“Elisa Baker denies killing stepdaughter” - WRAL article. May 9, 2013.

“Zahra Baker basics: Complicated case still resonates with community” - Hickory Daily Record article by Richard Gould. August 20, 2014.


“Inside the Zahra Baker case with investigator who identified remains” - WBTV3 article by Steve Crump. March 1, 2016.

“What happened to Zahra Baker?” - The Sydney Morning Herald article by Bernard Lagan. May 23, 2011.

“Zahra Baker's birth mother speaks for the first time” - The Charlotte Observer article by Diana Rugg. September 19, 2011.


THE “MIRACLE OF HICKORY”: THE 1944 POLIO HOSPITAL - Hickory Museum of Art article by Karin Borei. April 7, 2015.

What Is Polio? - CDC Website

Polio Data - Our World in Data article by Sophie Ochmann and Max Roser. November 9, 2017.

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Intro Music:

She-Wolf In My Heart (bonus) by Sergey Cheremisinov is licensed under a Attribution License.

Outro Music:

Trio for Piano Violin and Viola by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License.