Zahra Baker, the 10-year-old Australian girl murdered in North Carolina, may have been raped by two men, according to search warrants unsealed on Tuesday.
The warrants, which are based on fourth-hand information, also describe what might have happened to the body of Zahra, who was reported missing October 9.
The warrants still did not reveal how the girl died.
Zahra’s stepmother, Elisa Baker, told police Zahra – who needed a prosthetic leg and hearing aids after a battle with cancer – was dismembered by someone wearing latex gloves.
Blood, bone found in drain
She also said that blood and bone could be found in the drain trap of a bathtub and the girl’s body parts were put in white rubbish bags before being thrown in a dumpster behind a shopping centre in Hudson, North Carolina.
Also, a confidential source told police he heard about the alleged rape from a friend, who had heard about it from his sister.
She said she was told about it by one of the men involved who said he had “done something very bad and needed to leave town”.
The source said he asked his friend if the men had killed Zahra and was told “they might have hit her in the head”.
The information in the warrants, some of which were posted on the website of the Hickory Daily Record, was from an October 15 motion to keep the records in the investigation sealed.
It doesn’t say when the men may have attacked the girl.
No one has been charged in Zahra’s death, which police have labelled a homicide.
Her stepmother, who is co-operating with authorities, is being held on an obstruction charge.
She has admitted writing a fake ransom note to try to throw off authorities.
The girl’s Australian father, Adam Baker, is free on bond after being jailed on charges unrelated to his daughter’s disappearance and death.
Police have said they don’t believe the account given by the Bakers that they last saw Zahra the morning she was reported missing.
One warrant states her father said he hadn’t seen her for three days.
A month after she was reported gone, police announced they’d found what were believed to be her remains.
The claim about the rape was among 11 warrants made public by order of Superior Court Judge Nathaniel Poovey.
Prosecutors had filed a motion on Monday asking that the warrants not be made public, arguing that it would hamper the continuing investigation.
Among other new details, the warrants expand an account by Elisa Baker on how the girl’s body was dismembered and left in different sites around western North Carolina.
She said the girl’s remains were stashed in a bed comforter and a car cover before being discarded.
The warrants also say that Elisa Baker showed deception during a polygraph test when asked if anyone had harmed Zahra and whether she knew who wrote a ransom note found at the Bakers’ residence the day Zahra was reported missing.
Zahra moved to the US with her father after he met Elisa online.
Zahra’s family had been planning a public memorial service Thursday, but a funeral home in Hickory said relatives had since decided to make it private and hold it at a later date.
Burial plans for Zahra have not been determined.
Zahra’s biological mother, Emily Dietrich, from Wagga Wagga, NSW, has said she hopes to be able to return her daughter’s remains to her native country.
Dietrich has said she suffered postnatal depression after Zahra’s birth and handed over custody to Adam Baker.
Later, she decided she wanted to be in the girl’s life and spent years trying to track the pair.
She said she discovered Zahra was living in the US just three days before she was reported missing on October 9.