According to Elisa Baker's account to police, she, her husband and Zahra had gone to the Oktoberfest in Hickory on Friday evening, October 8, 2010, between 7:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. and had then returned home. Elisa said Zahra had gone to bed soon after they arrived at their house. Around 2:30 a.m., she said, she had gotten out of bed and had gone to check on Zahra and then returned to bed. She had woken up again at about 5:20 a.m., seen the small fire outside, and reported it to authorities. Elisa Baker told police that Zahra must have been taken by someone when the fire broke out. She said she believed the fire had been a ruse used to get her and her husband out of the house.
In a disturbing twist to the case, Adam Baker, interviewed separately, told police that he had not seen Zahra since Wednesday, October 6, 2010. Had Elisa deliberately lied to the police about the time frame in which Zahra was last seen? Or had he or she simply been somehow mistaken? The cops were determined to find out. By the next day, Sunday, October 10, 2010, police begin gathering and viewing surveillance tapes from businesses near the Baker's residence in an effort to identify any events, suspicious or mundane, that might shed light on the child's disappearance.