By Gary L Wright and Fred Clasen-Kelly - firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
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 Hudson grocery store, according to court documents released this afternoon.
The records don't reveal how the girl died but detail for the first time Elisa Baker's account of what was done with her stepdaughter Zahra's body.
Judge Nathaniel Poovey ordered that the previously-sealed documents be released this afternoon.
The documents also show:
-- Elisa Baker's attorney, Lisa Dubs, told an investigator that latex gloves were used while Zahra's body was dismembered. Dubs also said investigators might find remains in the bathtub drain.
-- Through her attorney, Elisa Baker said she and her husband Adam Baker -- Zahra's father -- dumped a mattress and box springs at a trash dump in Granite Falls.
-- Elisa Baker directed investigators to the Fox Ridge apartments in Hickory. Through her attorney, she admitted that she and Adam Baker wrapped Zahra's prosthetic leg in a white trash bag and threw it in the apartment Dumpster.
Read more at www.newsobserver.com-- On Oct. 10, a dog trained in recovery of bodies gave a positive alert for the presence of human remains in or on two vehicles described by police as belonging to the family.
by NewsChannel 36 Staff
Posted on November 30, 2010 at 4:42 PM
HICKORY, N.C. – The memorial service for 10-year-old Zahra Baker has been moved to a later date and will be a private service.
Drum Funeral Home announced the changes on Tuesday and said Zahra’s family decided to make the changes.
Read more at www.wcnc.comThere will be an opportunity for visitors to stop by Drum Funeral Home on in Hickory to sign the register book and view a memorial tribute of Zahra on Thursday evening, Dec. 2 from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. and on Friday, Dec. 3 from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m.
Last Updated: November 30. 2010 2:32PM
Francis X. Donnelly and Doug Guthrie / The Detroit News
Morenci— The father of three missing boys will be charged with three counts of parental kidnapping, authorities said today.
John Skelton has been released from the mental health facility where he has spent the last few days and is now in the custody of FBI agents in Toledo.
Officials discussed the case at a press conference this afternoon at the Morenci Fire Department building.
Police Chief Larry Weeks said earlier today he didn't expect the four-day search to have a positive outcome.
"Imagine your worst nightmare come true," he said during a daily press briefing.
But Weeks wouldn't say specifically why he had reached that conclusion.
He said comments by several people, including the boy's father, John Skelton, suggested the boys weren't alive. But he wouldn't say what the comments were.
Posted: 10:49 a.m. Nov. 30, 2010
By Gina Damron
Free Press Staff Writer
The search for three missing Morenci boys has turned ominous.
Morenci Police Chief Larry Weeks said at a news conference this morning that based on information provided to law enforcement officials by their father, John Skelton, police "do not anticipate a positive outcome here."
He wouldn't comment on specifically what information is leading police to that conclusion, simply saying it was statements made by Skelton.
"Because it's an ongoing and fluid situation, that information is not going to be made available to the public," Weeks said.
He said a decision on criminal charges has not yet been made.
Asked how their mother, Tayna Skelton, is feeling, Weeks said: "Imagine your worst nightmare coming true. How would you respond?"
By staff writers
November 30, 2010
ZAHRA Baker's only relatives in America - her grieving father Adam Baker and grandmother Karen Baker - are in hiding, under police protection, as public anger surges through the North Carolina township of Hickory.
The police protection will cover the planned memorial service this week for the murdered Australian 10-year-old, the Townsville Bulletin said.
Adam and Karen Baker have vowed that verbal abuse and intimidation will not deter them from honouring Zahra, as happened during the candlelight vigil on November 16 attended by more than 1000 on what would have been her 11th birthday.
The service, on Thursday, will be held in a chapel that seats about 200 people.
No funeral can be held until police complete their investigation into the disappearance and death of the little girl, a two-time cancer survivor who had a prosthetic leg and also suffered from impaired hearing.
By COREY WILLIAMS, Associated Press Corey Williams, Associated Press
MORENCI, Mich. – The father of three missing Michigan boys was out of work, his marriage had fallen apart and he'd lost custody of his children in the months before he told police that he gave the boys to an acquaintance and tried to kill himself.
Police said Monday that they don't believe John Skelton's claim that he handed his children over to a woman he met online and had crews searching areas in Michigan and along an Ohio highway where the FBI said Skelton's blue minivan had been seen Thursday or Friday. Morenci Police Chief Larry Weeks said police spent several days searching extensively in records and by other means for the woman and couldn't find any evidence she existed.
Read more at news.yahoo.com
Skelton's sons — Tanner, 5, Alexander, 7, and Andrew, 9 — were last seen Thursday in the backyard of their father's southern Michigan home, and authorities said they believe they are in danger. Weeks did not name Skelton as a suspect in the boys' disappearance, but he said investigators haven't ruled him out. Skelton, 39, has been in an Ohio hospital since Friday, receiving treatment for "mental health issues" after telling police he tried to hang himself, Weeks said.
Last Updated: November 29. 2010 6:57PM
Doug Guthrie / The Detroit News
Adrian — The father of three missing boys bitterly fought for custody of them and took them before without permission, according to court records.
The records show that John R. Skelton, 39, took his sons and announced his intention to move to Jacksonville, Fla., on Sept. 13 — the same day his wife filed for divorce, according to documents in Lenawee County Circuit Court.
The proceedings also show Skelton sought a court order for sole custody of the boys, Tanner, 5, Alexander, 7, and Andrew 9, based on the claim that their mother, Tanya Skelton, 34, was on the state's sex offender list. She served a year in prison for an illegal sexual relationship with a 14-year-old boy in 1998.
Posted: 3:57 pm EST November 29, 2010
Updated: 4:35 pm EST November 29, 2010
HICKORY, N.C. -- Search warrants in the investigation into Zahra Baker’s disappearance and death will remain sealed, a judge ruled Monday.The District Attorney’s Office filed a motion to keep the documents from becoming public just as they were about to be unsealed. Unsealing the warrants would undermine or jeopardize the state’s right to prosecute a defendant, the motion claimed.A total of 11 search warrants in the case are sealed. Several are related to searches done at the Bakers’ Hickory home, which was left with holes in the walls, floors and ceilings after investigators scoured it for evidence. Other warrants involved information from the Facebook and MySpace accounts of Zahra Baker’s stepmother, Elisa Baker.Read more at www.wsoctv.com
MORENCI -- Morenci Police Chief Larry Weeks acknowledged today that the father of three missing boys lied about a relationship with a Jackson woman whom he told authorities he turned his boys over to so they wouldn’t see him commit suicide.
Weeks said at a news conference police found no established relationship between the father and the woman he described as Joann Taylor.
“We can confirm that there’s no established relationship between he and the person he described as Joann Taylor,” Weeks said.
The chief today asked the public’s help to see if any of them saw Weeks’ car from 2:30 p.m. Thursday to 1:30 p.m. Friday, but specifically from 4 a.m. to 7 am. Friday. He said authorities have information that the vehicle was not at home during some of that time and believe the boys were in the car that morning or the evening before.
The blue 2000 Dodge Caravan was towed from Skelton’s home and has a license place of 9JQ H93.
Weeks said authorities continue to have conversations with John Skelton about his missing children and have executed searches at the home and collected “things from the home to assist us with the investigation.”
In response to a question, he would not specifically confirm whether Skelton’s computer had been confiscated. Skelton told police he had stayed in touch with a Joann Taylor from the Jackson area who he met several years ago during a vehicle breakdown with her husband, and that’s who he turned his missing children over to.
Weeks said officials are searching in Ohio in the areas of Kunkle, Unity, West Unity and Holiday City.
He would not answer a question as to whether either side of the family has a connection to that area. Neither would Kathye Herrera, a spokeswoman for the family.
Asked whether authorities are optimistic the children will be found safe, Weeks said:
“We remain hopeful ... that we are going to find them and bring them home.”
MORENCI, MI (WTOL) - Morenci Police Chief Larry Weeks asked for the public's help to locate the Skelton family minivan in the search for three missing boys. He also said the search effort is moving to Pioneer, OH.
Andrew, 9, Alexander, 7, and Tanner Skelton, 5, were last seen Friday afternoon in their father's yard. Father John Skelton told police he turned the boys over to a woman from Jackson, MI that he met online named Joann Taylor. Weeks says they have determined no relationship exists between Skelton and any woman by that name in Jackson.
Weeks described a blue Dodge Caravan that may have been in the Ohio cities of Kunkel, Unity, West Unity or Holiday City late Thursday or early Friday. Photos will soon be released of the vehicle.
The window of time they are specifically asking for is anyone who may have seen the van at 2:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 25 to to 1:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 26. Even more specifically, they are looking for anyone who may have seen the van between 4 a.m. and 7 a.m. Friday in those cities.
Additionally, Weeks says the search is being moved to Pioneer, OH. He has not given details regarding why they're focusing on that area. Only that they've been taling to multiole sources including the boys' father.
UPDATE: All volunteers are being asked to drive to Pioneer, OH to resume the search there. We'll have more details after an 11 a.m. news conference.http://www.wtol.com/Global/story.asp?S=13580161
MORENCI, Mich. (WXYZ) - Morenci Police held a live news conference Monday morning to update the investigation into the disappearance of three young boys who are believed to be in 'extreme danger.'
The search continues for the three little boys who have been missing since Thanksgiving. They are thought to be in grave danger after their father allegedly handed them off to a mystery woman and then attempted suicide.
On Sunday search crews from the FBI, Michigan State Police and Morenci Police continued searching for five-year-old Tanner, seven year-old Alexander and nine year-old Andrew. An Amber Alert has been issued for the three missing boys.
Investigators fanned out across the bucolic area surrounding Morenci, which sits near the Ohio border in Lenawee County. Action News has learned crews were combing through a wooded area inside a state park on the Ohio side of the state line.
On Saturday night FBI agents and police removed boxes of evidence from John Skelton's home. Skelton is the boys' father. The young children were last seen at Skelton's house around 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving evening.
Skelton has told police that on Friday he gave the boys to a woman he befriended several years ago. Skelton says he met this woman, Joann Taylor, on the side of the road when he saw that she was having car trouble.
It was after he handed off the children that Skelton attempted to hang himself, but he survived and called another friend to take him to the hospital. At the hospital he told police that the boys were with Taylor.
Police have not confirmed whether Taylor exists.
Skelton is separated from his wife who has full custody of the children. He was allowed planned visits which is why the boys were in his home over the Thanksgiving holiday. Skelton claims Taylor was supposed to return the children to their mother, but never did.
Alexander William Skelton is 7 years-old, 3' 9, 45 pounds and has brown eyes, brown hair and a scar on his chin . Tanner Skelton is 5 years-old, 3' 6 with blue eyes and blonde hair. Andrew Skelton is 9 years-old, 4' with brown hair and brown eyes.http://www.wxyz.com/dpp/news/state/amber-alert-issued-for-three-btothers-from-morenci,-michigan.
POSTED: Monday, November 29, 2010
UPDATED: 10:48 am EST November 29, 2010
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. --
As police, neighbors and other volunteers resumed searching Monday for three brothers last seen the day before their father tried to commit suicide, the boys' grandmother in Jacksonville is holding onto hope even as investigators believe the children are in "extreme danger."
Police in Morenci, about 75 miles southwest of Detroit, are looking for 5-year-old Tanner, 7-year-old Alexander and 9-year-old Andrew Skelton. A prayer vigil was held for the boys Sunday night after the FBI, police and numerous volunteers scoured fields, farmland and wooded areas near the Ohio-Michigan border.
The boys' father, 39-year-old John Skelton, was being treated at a hospital in Ohio for "mental health issues" after he tried to hang himself Friday, Police Chief Larry Weeks said.
When asked if Skelton was a suspect in his sons' disappearance, Weeks said, "We haven't ruled anything out yet."
Posted: 7:40 am EST November 29, 2010OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. -- A judge will decide Monday who should temporarily take care of a four-year-old South Florida boy who was the subject of an Amber Alert on Saturday.Investigators found the toddler safe with his father, Eduardo Juliao, in the Kissimmee area on Sunday.Authorities say Juliao took the child after a domestic dispute with the boy's mother. She told authorities he slashed her face and threatened the child.The boy's father was still in the Osceola County jail Monday morning.
7:45 a.m. EST, November 29, 2010
Anthony and her lawyers will be in court for a status hearing at 1 p.m.
Chief Circuit Judge Belvin Perry will hear arguments related to a motion filed by the state requesting the court order Anthony's defense team provide more information about their expert witnesses.
Anthony, 24, is charged in the killing her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee Marie, in the summer of 2008.
Also today, Anthony's defense team is scheduled to question several people under oath as part of the case, including Orange County Sheriff's Office employees.
ORLANDO, Fla. --
Casey Anthony is expected to attend a status hearing Monday at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando.Judge Belvin Perry will hear a new motion filed by prosecutors asking that defense experts be required to disclose their financial arrangements with Anthony's defense team.The defense team wants to hire an expert who specializes in bones and fossilized remains. If the new expert is approved, he or she would be paid at taxpayers' expense.Anthony's defense team recently won the right to do out of state DNA testing on a pair of Caylee Anthony's shorts and a laundry bag found near her skeletal remains.Perry will also check with the two sides to see if Anthony's murder trial is on track to begin in May of next year.WESH.com will stream the status hearing live at 1 p.m.Read more at www.wesh.com
The search was scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. However, volunteers were told to hold off on beginning the search due to new developments under investigation.
WTOL's Dan Bumpus has been in Morenci all morning. He says no details have yet been given on what the developments may be.http://www.wtol.com/Global/story.asp?S=13580161
On "The Early Show" Monday, Pat Brown, a criminal profiler, said the father's story is the "biggest bunch of bull I ever heard."
"It's a bogus story," she said.
"Doesn't make a darn bit of sense. We're talking about a man who he just wants the children to go back to the mother, so he can commit suicide. Why doesn't he simply drive them over there and drop the children himself or have his mother do it? Why does he call some stranger, and oh, by the way, he can't even give the police the woman's address or phone number? They have no idea how he even contacted her. Yeah, he has no record on his cell phone. He has no record on his Internet. It's a bogus story."
Brown said the spelling of the mystery woman's name is "curious."
She said, "If I'm reading correctly, this is the spelling he gave to the police: he said Joann, without an e. His mother's name is Roxaan, which is fascinating, because a lot of times [if] you try to come up with a phony name you will pick something close to what you already know. So, it's hard to come up with something completely unknown to you say, let me think, I know a guy named Joe - or Joann like my mother's name. I think he made up the names.
Posted by Dave Dykema - email
MORENCI, MI (WTOL) - Investigators have not tracked down a woman that the suicidal father of the boys said he dropped them off with. Police and the community continue to search the area.
Police say the father of the boys has not been ruled out as a suspect in their disappearance.
The largest group yet gathered Sunday to search for three missing boys from Morenci, Michigan.
Andrew, 9, Alexander, 7, and Tanner Skelton, 5, were last seen Friday afternoon in their father's yard.
The Morenci Fire Department served as the search team command post. It's a huge undertaking but volunteers say they are not giving up until they find the boys.
"Everybody wants to be the person that's finds them. Everybody wants to be the person that finds everything in okay order. They hope to reunite everybody," volunteer Joseph Garrow said.
"I can't imagine how it would be to go to bed at night and not even know where my kids were, whether they were safe, whether they were warm. I just don't think I could handle it," volunteer Brenda Stevens said.
Groups of volunteers canvassed two locations, Lime Creek and Harrison Lake areas that stretch for miles. Morenci Police say they are focusing on places the boys visited often.
But even with a mountain of a task ahead of them, these volunteers don't plan to leave any stone unturned.
"We'll go 'til we find them. We got a lot of area to cover, got a lot of state parks around, so we'll keep it going," said Bill Foster, who organized the search.
The search began at dawn. Hundreds of volunteers from Michigan and Ohio came to search for the boys and more than seven local fire departments were on hand to help coordinate and lead groups through fields and into woods.
Search organizers say they appreciate the heartfelt support from people in Ohio and Michigan.
"Make you feel better to know that you do have the support of the community and the other departments," fireman Les Tietje said.http://www.wtol.com/Global/story.asp?S=13578675
MORENCI, MI (WTOL) - Law Enforcement officers in Michigan are looking for three boys reported missing Friday. Five-year-old Tanner Lucas Skelton, seven-year-old Alexander William Skelton, and nine-year-old Andrew Ryan Skelton have been missing since late Thursday night or early Friday morning from 112 East Congress Street in Morenci, Michigan.
John Skelton says he turned his children over to a woman named Joann Taylor who may be driving a white or silver minivan. After turning the children over to this woman, the father tried to take his own life. He is now in the hospital under observation. The boys are described as follows:
Tanner Lucas Skelton:
White Male, Brown Hair & Blue Eyes
Alexander William Skelton:
White Male, Brown Hair & Brown Eyes
Andrew Ryan Skelton:
White Male, Brown Hair & Brown Eyes
Skelton believes Joann Taylor is married to Mark Taylor who he believes is a pastor either in the Hillsdale or Jackson, Michigan areas.http://www.wtol.com/Global/story.asp?S=13574023
Diane Yayoe Suzuki, 19, had her whole life ahead of her.
The University of Hawaii student and talented dance teacher and performer went missing on July 6, 1985.
"She was seen teaching her class at five minutes to 3 p.m. and her class ends at 3 o'clock and at 3:15 when her friend went to go look for her she was gone already," said Honolulu City Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro.
Diane's purse, keys and car were still there but she was nowhere to be found.
Police initially launched a missing person investigation which was later passed to sex assault detail.
The case was eventually reclassified to a homicide.
Drum & Willis-Reynolds - Cremation - Service – Conover – North Carolina
by NewsChannel 36 Staff
Posted on November 26, 2010 at 2:49 PM
Updated today at 3:01 PM
HICKORY, N.C. – A memorial service for 10-year-old Zahra Baker has been scheduled in Hickory.
According to Drum Funeral Home and Cremation Services the memorial service will be held at their Hickory location on 29th Avenue Northeast at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 2.
Right now it hasn’t been decided where Zahra will be buried.
Zahra was reported missing from her Hickory home on Oct. 9. Her father and stepmother, Adam and Elisa Baker, told police they’d last seen the girl sleeping in her bed.
Zahra Baker was born in Australia. Her biological mother, Emily Dietrich, battled post-partum depression and says that Adam left with their daughter.
The 10-year-old battled cancer twice and lost part of one leg and her hearing to the disease. She wore a prosthetic leg and hearing aids.
Investigators found Zahra’s prosthetic leg in a wooded area off of Christie Road in late October. Just over a week later police found a bone in that search area as well.
On Nov. 12, Hickory Police Chief Tom Adkins said that DNA from that bone matched an item taken from Zahra’s home that was believed to have belonged to the 10-year-old.
At that point, Adkins said that police had recovered enough physical evidence to believe they’d found Zahra.
Children Protection Council of Catawba County held a candlelight vigil for Zahra on Tuesday, Nov. 16 – Zahra would have turned 11-years-old that day.
So far, no charges have been filed in connection with the girl's death.
Zahra's stepmother, Elisa Baker, has been charged with obstruction of justice. Police say she admitted writing a bogus ransom note.
Court papers filed by Elisa Baker’s attorney say that Zahra’s stepmother told police the 10-year-old had been dismembered.
Those documents requested a bond reduction for Elisa Baker because she had cooperated with police.
The owner of a crime memorabilia website shared letters, allegedly written by Elisa Baker, that point blame towards Adam Baker.
Read more at www.wcnc.comAdam Baker was arrested on unrelated charges but is now out of jail.
POSTED: 12:49 pm EST November 26, 2010
UPDATED: 1:15 pm EST November 26, 2010
ORLANDO, Fla. -- The latest moves by Casey Anthony's defense team show that lawyers are hoping to use science to raise reasonable doubt about who put Caylee Anthony's remains in the woods.Anthony's defense team recently won the right to do out of state DNA testing on a pair of Caylee Anthony's shorts and a laundry bag found near her skeletal remains.
"You're seeing them trying to find the next red herring," said Orlando criminal defense attorney Richard Hornsby, who is not affiliated with the case.If tests turn up foreign DNA on either item, the defense could make a stronger case that someone other than Anthony put her daughter's remains in the woods.Read more at www.wesh.com
Updated: Friday, 26 Nov 2010, 1:00 PM EST
Published : Friday, 26 Nov 2010, 12:41 PM EST
BY KATHY CARVAJAL
MYFOXNY.COM - The babysitter of a two-year-old boy who died from battered child syndrome was arrested in connection with the toddler's death.
Cynthia Dubois, 18, was taking care of the child at his father's home when she found him unconscious, reported the Associated Press. Dubois allegedly shook the child, waited at least 30 minutes and then called police.
Josiah Taylor was taken to Staten Island University Hospital North where he was pronounced dead, according to the NYPD.
The medical examiner said there was evidence the boy's injuries occurred over a period of time.
Dubois was to be arraigned on Friday.
On Wednesday, detectives were seen entering the house removing bags of evidence.
The boy's father and mother will also be questioned, reported the AP.
By JOSEPH WENZEL IV
11:57 a.m. EST
November 26, 2010
A 19-year-old Texas man was charged with risk of injury to a minor after being found in a hotel room Thursday night with a 15-year-old girl who had been reported missing, police said.
Gabriel Mendoza, 19, of Gruver, Texas, was having a long-distance internet relationship with the Ansonia teen, Lt. Andrew L. Cota said. Mendoza arranged to meet the girl over the Thanksgiving holiday, Cota said.
Mendoza and the girl were found around 6 p.m. in a hotel room in the Danbury area, Cota said.
Mendoza's bail was set at $20,000. He is scheduled to appear in Superior Court in Derby today.Read more at www.ctnow.com