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Stepmother of missing NC girl due in court

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By MITCH WEISS
Associated Press Writer

HICKORY, NC (AP) -- Authorities say the stepmother of a North Carolina girl who police believe is dead is due in court.

Police say Elisa Baker is charged with felony obstruction of justice after admitting she wrote a fake ransom note to throw off detectives investigating her stepdaughter's disappearance reported over the weekend. Baker is scheduled to appear in court Wednesday morning.

Investigators indicated Tuesday they believe someone killed 10-year-old Zahra Clare Baker.

In interviews and court documents, relatives and neighbors say Elisa Baker is nasty-tempered and often took her rage out on Zahra.

Police said the search for Zahra has shifted to a homicide investigation, canceling a missing child alert for the shy but upbeat girl who used hearing aids and had a prosthetic leg because of bone cancer.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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