HICKORY, NC (AP) -- Investigators indicated Tuesday they believe someone killed a 10-year-old girl with disabilities who was reported missing over the weekend, and accused her stepmother of trying to throw off investigators with a fake ransom note.
Police said the search for Zahra Clare Baker has shifted to a homicide investigation, canceling a missing child alert for the shy but upbeat girl who used hearing aids and a prosthetic leg because of bone cancer.
The girl's stepmother, Elisa Baker, is the only person accused in the case so far. Hickory Police Chief Tom Adkins said she was charged with felony obstruction of justice after admitting she wrote the note, which asked for $1 million.
Adkins says police can't find anyone outside the household who has seen the girl alive in the last month.
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