A relative of Zahra Baker's stepmother said Wednesday that the jailed woman told her the 10-year-old girl died of an illness and that her parents "went wild," dismembering and hiding her remains.
Boncetta "Buzzie" Winkler, 76, told The Associated Press that she met this week with her niece, Elisa Baker, and talked about what happened to the freckle-faced Australian girl whose disappearance and death have riveted communities in North Carolina and her native country.
"She'd been sick two weeks before she died," Winkler said. "When they found her, I guess they didn't know what to do. They just went wild."
According to search warrants and other court documents unsealed this week, Elisa Baker has told police that Zahra died on Sept. 24, about two weeks before she was reported missing. Elisa Baker told police that the girl was dismembered after she died, and her remains scattered in various locations in western North Carolina.
No one has been charged in Zahra's death, and neither the hundreds of pages of court documents released so far nor statements from investigators have said how she died. Elisa Baker is currently in jail on charges of obstructing the investigation into Zahra's disappearance.