Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Adam Baker: 911 Call Analysis

Regarding 100% success rate in detecting deception:  This is the 911 call made by Adam Baker, father of murder victim, Zahra Baker.  Police did not charge him.  In early 2012, they deported him in spite of other criminal charges. 

  Statement Analysis is in bold type following the basics of the case.  

Question for Analysis:  Does subject have guilty knowledge of crime being reported?

Adam Baker was not charged in relation to Zahra's death.
  From Wikapedia:

Zahra Clare Baker (November 16, 1999 - September 24, 2010) was born in Wagga Wagga, Australia and was reported missing on October 9, 2010. Only 10 years old at the time of her death, her dismembered remains were found in November 2010. Because of the crime's gruesome nature and the series of events leading up to her death, Zahra's murder received worldwide media coverage

A 911 call was made by Elisa on August 9, 2010 at 5:30 am, reporting a fire in the back of the family residence in Hickory. When the police came for the reported fire, there was a ransom note and the smell of gasoline coming from Adam's company truck, a Chevrolet Tahoe.[5] In a second 911 phone call made when Zahra is reported missing on 2 pm on the same day, Adam Baker explained that during a fire in their backyard a $1 million ransom note was found on his company truck the night before, addressed to Adam's boss and landlord, Mark Coffey. Adam explained that they called 911 earlier that day about the fire and implied that whomever started the fire, may have done so in order to distract the alleged kidnapper, in order to take Zahra. Adam explained the purported kidnapper mistakenly confused Zahra for Mr. Coffey's daughter. Mark Coffey's daughter was unharmed and with her family, Adam stated. Adam said the last time he saw his daughter was at 2:30 am. Apparently, Adam Baker left for work early in the morning and did not return until after Zahra went to sleep.[1]

[edit]Arrests and Charges

Reportedly, Elisa failed a polygraph test she had taken early in the investigation. She was asked: if she had hurt Zahra, if she knew of anyone who had harmed Zahra and if she knew who wrote the ransom note.[3] On October 10, 2010 search and rescue dogs were sent to search the Baker's house and cars. The dogs gave positive alerts to the smell of human remains on both of the Baker's cars, the Chevrolet Tahoe and a sedan. The police took swabs of what they thought may be blood from the car. On October 10, 2010, Elisa Baker was also arrested for various crimes which included communicating threats, writing bad checks, larceny and driving with a revoked license, crimes unrelated to the death of Zahra.[6] Baker, who was jailed, was next charged with obstruction of justice after admitting that she wrote the ransom note, which led the police astray.[7]


Allegedly, Elisa Baker's aunt, Buzzie Winkler told reporters that Elisa told her, that Zahra died after being sick for 2 weeks and both parents dismembered and hid her remains. Elisa's aunt said: "She'd been sick two weeks before she died, when they found her, I guess they didn't know what to do. They just went wild." Elisa, though, reportedly said Adam dismembered Zahra Baker alone, after she died and they both hid her remains. Elisa also told police that Zahra died on September 24, yet she was not reported missing until October 9.[9]
Allegedly, Eric Gein, owner of Serial killers Ink, a crime memorabilia dealer, used an assumed name and wrote Elisa in the jail she was in. She wrote him back twice sharing some information. According to a letter written to Eric Gein, Elisa wrote: "We really didn't kill her, but what he did after the fact is kinda horrifying." "(It) makes me scared of him.[10]
Reportedly, Elisa's attorney, Lisa Dubs told police where they can find possible evidence relating to Zarah's death. Apparently, Elisa told her attorney that Zahra's prosthetic leg was left in a dumpster that she and Adam had disposed of at Fox Ridge Apartments in Hickory.[3] A prosthetic leg was found in late October off a road in Caldwell County a few miles from a former residence of Elisa's. The Hickory police department were able to match the serial # of the prosthetic leg from Zahra's medical records they obtained from Australia, in order to confirm that it was definitely Zahra's leg.[7][11]
Murder Charge
In November 2010, Elisa Baker started leading police to different areas in Catawba County and Caldwell County to find Zahra's scattered remains. Numerous bones of Zahra was found but Zahra's head was not found.[11] Allegedly, Elisa had told police she threw Zahra's mattress in a dumpster, and police confirmed the mattress fitting the description was found in a landfill.[12] Elisa Baker also led the police to another dumpster, behind a grocery store in Hudson, where she and Adam dumped a car cover and bed cover, which was used to hide and transport Zahra. Elisa also told police they can find Zahra's body parts in the drain trap of the bathtub and that plastic gloves that she used could be found in her bathroom.[3]
The cause of death could not be determined for Zahra, therefore her death was ruled an "undetermined violent homicide".[11] Allegedly, Elisa told the police that both she and Adam Baker disposed of Zahra's remains, but according to cell phone towers, Elisa was in the area where Zahra's remains were found, but Adam was not.[17] Investigators believe that Elisa Baker killed and dismembered Zahra on Sept, 24th, 2010 and disposed of her remains the following day.[18] Elisa Baker was indicted by a grand jury, for second degree murder with aggravating circumstances, on February 22, 2011 in Catawba County. The five aggravating circumstances were cited as:
  • Elisa Baker had a history of physical, verbal and psychological abuse of the child.
  • She secreted the child from her family, before and after the crime.
  • She desecrated Zahra’s body to hinder the murder investigation and prosecution.
  • Zahra was young, and physically infirm/handicapped.
  • Elisa Baker took advantage of a position of trust.[19]
Elisa would have a first degree murder charge if she had not led law enforcement to Zahra's remains.[1] Adam has denied any involvement in Zahra's death and the police have not found any credible evidence to suggest that he had any involvement in her death or to charge him with murder.[20] Elisa's bond was increased by $200,000 because of the murder charge, making the total bond $307,700.[21]

[edit]Identity Theft Charges

In April 2011 Adam Baker was charged with identity theft and obtaining property under false pretenses. It was claimed that Adam Baker used the identity of a man by the name of James Starbuck and his social security number to get power connected to his apartment. James Starbuck is the husband of Elisa's daughter, Brittany Starbuck. Adam was previously charged with passing worthless checks, communicating threats, assault with a deadly weapon and failure to return property.[22][23] With these new charges, Adam was ordered not to leave North Carolina without notifying the district attorney's office. He also was ordered to wear an electronic monitoring device on his ankle and was ordered to meet with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement once a week. Adam was hoping to return to Australia shortly.[24]
Elisa Baker was also charged with identity theft and obtaining property under false pretenses in February 2011. It was reported that Elisa had used her daughter, Brittany Starbuck's personal information to obtain telephone and utility service at one of the family residences in Caldwell County in March 2010. She pled not guilty to the four counts of identity theft in May 2011.[25] [26]


Note:  Elisha Baker entered a guilty plea and received a light sentence.

Does this call indicate guilty knowledge?

ADAM BAKER:   "Hey, how ya doing?  I need police."   (transfer)

Please note two red flags:
1.  the call begins with a greeting
2.  the caller asks for specific help for himself; not the victim 
DISPATCHER: 911 what is your emergency?
ADAM BAKER: Ah.. yeah my daughter is missing.
DISPATCHER: I'm sorry? Your daughter…
ADAM BAKER: My daughter is missing.
DISPATCHER: Your daughter is missing.
DISPATCHER: What is your address?
ADAM BAKER: 21 21st Ave. Northwest.
Here, the subject (Adam Baker) has not spoken on his own, but has used reflective language.  Here is his first statement:  

ADAM BAKER: The police were out here last night. They found a ransom note for my bosses daughter… um… I got up a little while ago… and it appears they took my daughter instead of my bosses daughter.

Note order gives us priority:

1.  Police were here last night
2.  Ransom note for boss' daughter
3.  I got up a little while ago
4.  they took my daughter instead

this puts his missing daughter 4th in sequence.  Note also "it appears" is soft, or passive language. 

DISPATCHER: How old is your daughter?
ADAM BAKER: She is 10. She's handicapped.. she has a prosthetic leg… so that…
DISPATCHER: How long has seen been missing?
ADAM BAKER: UmmmWe checked in there last night about 2:30 and she was there... and all this happened last night around 5 ...so I don't know if they set a fire in the yard to distract us to go out and then they snuck in the door... or.. I don't know.

Note "umm" as a pause to think.  It is expected that a father would know exactly how long his daughter is missing, especially given the time lapse from when police were there. 
Note it is expected that a missing child is highly personal to a father, and the pronoun "I" is expected.  Here he begins with "we checked" and not "I"   This is concerning as guilty parties seek to share guilt, to minimize and spread it around. 

DISPATCHER: I am not familiar with what happened last night... what happened last night?
ADAM BAKER: OK. Last night...we woke up.. my dog woke me up and I had a fire in the back yard and somebody had poured gas in my company vehicle I drive to work. They left a ransom note on my company vehicle to my boss saying they had his daughter and his son was next.

Note the change of pronoun from "we" woke up to "my dog woke me up"  This change in pronoun is a strong indicator of deception. 

ADAM BAKER: And his daughter is fine. His daughter came with him last night when I called him. And uh, It appears they may have taken my daughter instead of his daughter.

Note the emphasis on his boss' daughter, not his own.
Note the passive language
Note the lack of using his daughter's name equals distancing language. 
Note the lack of urgency in the language for his daughter.  

In these 2 sentences, "his daughter" is mentioned three times, with his mentioned once. 

DISPATCHER: OK, Do you know who this was?
ADAM BAKER: I don't know who... No... no ma'am..

politeness noted as a red flag.  A child is missing and we expect urgency and impatience from a frantic father. 
DISPATCHER: Do you know any idea why they were threatening to take his daughter?
ADAM BAKER: I don't know.

If your child was missing, would you care to speculate on why someone was threatening to take someone else's daughter?  
DISPATCHER: What is your name?
ADAM BAKER: My name is Adam Baker.
DISPATCHER: Phone number?
ADAM BAKER: 962-xxxx
DISPATCHER: OK, so.. No one has seen your daughter since 2:30 this morning...? [It is now after 2 pm that day]
ADAM BAKER: No.. like I said we, uh, had all that drama last night and we... me and my wife went back to bed. And my daughter is I think's coming into puberty.. cause she is hitting that brooding stage (laughter) so we only see her when she comes out when she wants something. And that's about it.

Note "like I said" is a self reference, indicating he is working from what was said previously, instead of experiential memory.  
Note the change of pronoun from "I" to "we" is a strong indicator of deception.  
Note the phrase "that drama" used while his daughter is missing. 
Note another strong red flag:  disparage or blame victim:  here, he blames her hormones and laughs. 
Police have not charged Adam Baker in relation to his daughter's murder, yet here he is heard laughing on a 911 call reporting her missing. 
"We" is distancing in "we only see her..."
"And" indicates missing information
"...that's about it" indicates that the subject who is reporting his daughter missing, does not want to share any more information with police.  He wants the flow of information to cease, something an innocent parent never does.  The parent of a missing child loses sleep attempting to remember anything that might help.  The guilty parent wishes to stop the flow of information because it might indict the guilty parent. 

DISPATCHER: And you say she is handicapped..?
ADAM BAKER: Yes ma'am.. she has an above the knee amputation.
DISPATCHER: OK, she has one leg and it is partially amputated?
ADAM BAKER: Yes, she has a prosthetic leg that they apparently have taken with them.
DISPATCHER: So... Prosthetic leg was taken with her?
ADAM BAKER: Yes ma'am..
DISPATCHER: OK. And you don't have any idea at all...
ADAM BAKER: Like I said it was it was all addressed to him and it was all taken out on him and.. I guess.. they thought he lived in this house...

"Like I said" is a self reference indicating information is not coming from memory of what took place, but memory of what was said earlier. 
DISPATCHER: OK.. ok.. did you talk to your boss about it?
ADAM BAKER: Um... I have just spoken to him and he umm told me to do... and he's going to be here shortly....
DISPATCHER: OK.. do you think that he knows?
ADAM BAKER: Umm.. we had an officer out here last night and he ran through who he thought it may have been like an ex-employee or something..
DISPATCHER: OK and you said 21 25th Ave. Northwest?
ADAM BAKER: 21 21st Ave.
DISPATCHER: OK.. 21 21st ave.
DISPATCHER: OK.. Hold on just a sec.
ADAM BAKER: OK. Thank you
DISPATCHER: OK... I see it now. I wasn't finding the call.. OK.
ADAM BAKER: It was officer .. [unintelligible]
DISPATCHER: Ok, we are getting the police out there.. if you find out anything at all in the meantime before we get the officer out there call me back and it would help us as far as finding your daughter.
ADAM BAKER: Ok. Thank you ma'am

Polite patience is an attempt to persuade that the caller is cooperative and a "good guy" when the reality is that a father should be in full blown panic.  

Question for Analysis:  Does subject have guilty knowledge of crime being reported?

Answer:  Adam Baker has guilty knowledge of the disappearance of his daughter and withheld information from police about it.  

Elisa Baker pled guilty and received a sentence of only 14-18 years. 


Anonymous said...

Poor poor Zarha.
He also never used her name, never asked for help for her, there is no urgency in his voice, he spends most of his time building scenarios.
"Vengeance is mine, sayeth The Lord."

John Mc Gowan said...

ADAM BAKER: OK. Last night...we woke up.. my dog woke me up and I had a fire in the back yard and somebody had poured gas in my company vehicle I drive to work. They left a ransom note on my company vehicle to my boss saying they had his daughter and his son was next.

HE uses the words "My company Vehicle" twice, making it sensitive:

1,Is it sensitive because someone pored gas on it?

2,Is it sensitive because thats were the ransom note was found?

Or 3,does the car hold much more information about the death of Zahra Baker..

Fred said...

He can run; but he can't hide!

Tilda said...

GREAT photo, Peter! Wow!

Anonymous said...

The outcome of this horrible crime done to a poor little ten year old girl makes me sick to my stomach. That evil witch gets a slap on the wrist and that worthless mealy mouthed sperm donor skips free back home. Positively disgusting.

Poor Zahra never stood a chance.

Lis said...

This call makes it obvious that he/they had thought out ahead of time the scenario they were going to try to fake. He is spoon-feeding the scenario to the dispatcher in such an obvious manner. It is similar to Sergio Celis' call in that aspect, also in the patient politeness and inappropriate chuckles.

He is deceptive, he has guilty knowledge.

Anonymous said...

Why rehash these atrocious events? Anyone that never read about the case would be left in the dust with such limited information. Just looking at the photos would be enough on this one. They were freak shows a walking. And, it appeared they had the kids making fun of her, too.

14-18 years is a pretty good deal considering her own children feared her. Just imagine what they survived!