Thursday, May 23 2013 11:58 AM EDT2013-05-23 15:58:46 GMT
Macon County School Superintendent Dr. Jacqueline Brooks confirms to WSFA 12 News that shots were fired after a high school graduation ceremony Wednesday evening. There were no injuries reported.Dr. BrooksMore >>
Macon County School Superintendent Dr. Jacqueline Brooks confirms to WSFA 12 News that shots were fired after a high school graduation ceremony Wednesday evening. There were no injuries reported.More >>
Thursday, May 23 2013 11:55 AM EDT2013-05-23 15:55:08 GMT
(RNN) - Dozens of Cleveland restaurants have pledged to give the man who rescued three Ohio women from captivity, free burgers for life. Charles Ramsey, the guy who famously stopped eating his Big MacMore >>
More than a dozen of Cleveland restaurants have pledged to give the man who rescued three Ohio women from captivity, free burgers for life.More >>
Thursday, May 23 2013 11:51 AM EDT2013-05-23 15:51:55 GMT
WSFA 12 News is taking action to try and help the people of Oklahoma following the violent weather. We are teaming up with the American Red Cross tomorrow for a phone bank. The hours will be from 11amMore >>
WSFA 12 News teamed up with the American Red Cross in Alabama to help the people of Oklahoma following the tornadoes that took 24 lives and caused extensive damage. Our on air and on line Disaster Relief Drive has raised $45,641 up to now.More >>
Thursday, May 23 2013 11:45 AM EDT2013-05-23 15:45:52 GMT
The hunt is on for a wanted suspect in Autauga County, according to the Autauga County Sheriff's Office. A woman called the WSFA 12 newsroom Wednesday afternoon saying that she had been stopped in AutaugaMore >>
A manhunt was initiated (for a second time) in Autauga county Wednesday after authorities showed up at a home to serve a robbery warrant and ran into the man wanted in connection with a January police chase. More >>
Amid lingering concerns about his national security policies, President Barack Obama is outlining measures to clarify the deadly use of drones against terror suspects.More >>
President Barack Obama is set to at least partially bring out into the open some of the U.S.-directed drone program, a key component of counterterrorism strategy, as he outlines the contours of the continuing threat to...More >>
HICKORY, NC (WBTV) -
Hickory Police Department and the Caldwell County Sheriff's Office say the NC State Bureau of Investigation has confirmed that a skull found off of Winkler Way near Hwy 268 in April 2012 was Zahra Baker's remains.
According to Hickory police, the NC SBI's Crime Lab, NC Medical Examiner's Office and Marshall University in Huntington, WV were able compare a DNA profile used for the prosecution of Elisa Baker in Zahra's murder case to the skull found in Caldwell County to confirm the findings.
The examination of the skull was unable to provide any further details on how Zahra was murdered, police told WBTV.
"The life and death of Zahra Baker profoundly impacted those who came to know this brave young lady through her tragic story. Zahra and her life will be forever in our thoughts and "Team Zahra" will forever be connected through her spirit" said District Attorney James Gaither, Jr.
"This information gives the members of ‘Team Zahra' mixed emotions" said Chief of Police Tom Adkins.
"It brings up the tragedy of Zahra's death and the life she lived before she was killed but it also gives us and the community a sense of finally bringing her home".
Sheriff Alan Jones of Caldwell County said, "Our County and all the folks who worked on this case are reminded of the days spent trying to find Zahra. She will be in our memories for the rest of our lives."
Family members along with the Australian Consulate had to be notified prior to releasing the information to the public. The remains will be returned to the appropriate family members with the assistance of the Consulate.
Family in Australia emailed WBTV's Steve Ohnesorge saying the news was unexpected, "Now finally we can move foward, as this was the last thing we were waiting for. She will never be forgotten nor does she deserve to be now."
Zahra was 10 years old when she was killed and dismembered in October 2010. Parts of her body were found in multiple sites around Catawba and Caldwell counties months after her disappearance.
Many people in the community were inspired by the young girl, and several projects were started in her honor.
In 2011, a new law was enacted in North Carolina and has become known as "Zahra's Law", or House Bill 227.
The law makes it a felony to disturb or dismember human remains.
According to the law, "any person who, with the intent to conceal the death of a person, fails to notify a law enforcement authority of the death or secretly buries or otherwise secretly disposes of a dead human body is guilty of a Class I felony."
The law also includes punishment for anyone who "attempts to conceal evidence of the death of another by knowingly and willfully dismembering or destroying human remains, by any means, including removing body parts or otherwise obliterating any portion thereof, shall be guilty of a Class H felony."
A playground was built in Zahra's honor at Kiwanis Park in Hickory, in 2012. The playground opened in May and was built with more than $200,000 in donations from citizens and businesses throughout the area.
Zahra's stepmother, Elisa Baker, pled guilty to second degree murder with aggravating factors in September 2011. She was sentenced to up to 18 years in prison.
Zahra's father, Adam Baker, was not charged in the case. Investigators and the District Attorney said there was no evidence to show he was involved in the girl's death or dismemberment.
Elisa Baker is still awaiting sentencing in her federal drug conspiracy case which she has already pleaded guilty.
Copyright 2013 WBTV. All rights reserved.
Skull found in 2012 confirmed to be Zahra BakerMore>>