HICKORY - On the 35th day of the search for Zahra Baker, Hickory Police Chief Tom Adkins stood before television cameras on Friday and made a tearful announcement.
I've been dreading this moment, Adkins said. Authorities have found enough evidence, he said, to prove the child is dead.
Investigators, agents, and officers who worked on this case are devastated that they could not find Zahra alive and bring her home safely, he said.
Adkins, who has overseen the investigation since the freckled 10-year-old with the wide smile was reported missing last month, said DNA taken from a child's bone discovered last week on Christie Road in Caldwell County matched a DNA sample taken from Zahra's belongings at her house.
Additional human remains found along a creek five miles away are consistent with those of a child, he said. Those remains will be sent to the State Bureau of Investigation lab for positive identification.