From every published report, 10 year old Zahra Clare Baker lived a life of hell, her body ravaged by cancer that led to the amputation of her leg and the loss of her hearing, and suffering abuse at the hands of her stepmother.

Now the poor child is missing from her North Carolina home, and presumed dead. Her stepmother, Elisa Baker, is jailed on unrelated charges, and is considered a person of interest in Zahra’s disappearance.

From the news reports, everybody saw it coming. Family members, friends, and neighbors have all said that Elisa Baker abused the girl, that she has a history of petty crimes and violence, and that Zahra spent most of her days locked in her room, only allowed out long enough to eat and go to the bathroom. Even Zahra’s father, Adam Baker, has said it is possible that his wife was involved in the girl’s disappearance.

“I just think this was something that we knew was going to happen for a long time,” one family member said during a television interview. “She was beat almost every time I was over there for just the smallest things,” a relative told reporters.

Neighbors also feared for the girl’s safety at the hands of her stepmother. “She was always beating her. I told her to stop but she wouldn’t listen to anyone. That poor girl,” said one.

Another said “There were warning signs along the way, but you never want to think the worst.” Another added “Lord, how that child suffered.”

The local police have said that Elisa Baker had a history of violence, including threatening to kill a woman and her 7 year old daughter.

News reports say that Department of Social Services workers came to the house in response to reports of abuse. The Department said it cannot comment on the case, citing privacy issues. Whose privacy? Zahra’s? She doesn’t need privacy, she needed an advocate. Elisa Baker’s privacy? Her father’s privacy, who proved worthless in protecting his child??

By their own admissions, everybody knew what was happening to Zahra. And yet they did nothing. Nobody. Not the caseworkers, not the neighbors, not the family, not even Zahra’s own father. They all stood by and looked the other way while this innocent little girl suffered.

It’s not even known for sure when Zahra actually disappeared. The last independent sighting of her was in September, though she wasn’t reported missing until October 9, when her father and stepmother called police with a bizarre tale of a mysterious fire in their back yard, and a ransom note addressed to Adam Baker’s employer was found. Elisa Baker later admitted to writing that note.

It’s pretty obvious that Zahra Baker is dead, and it’s obvious that her stepmother is probably responsible. I personally think the father had a role in whatever happened to her as well.

So what the hell is wrong with our society and our system that the most helpless among us can be victimized like this, and that so many people could have known about it, and yet they did nothing? No matter who actually did the terrible deeds to this little girl, everybody associated with the case must share the responsibility.

Shame on all of them for not putting a stop to it. Shame on her father. Shame on the relatives and neighbors who allowed it to happen and didn’t call the authorities over and over again until they couldn’t ignore the problem any more. Shame on the caseworkers who didn’t do enough to investigate and rescue Zahra.

And shame on us, as a society, that we have so many safeguards in place to protect the rights of psychos like Elisa Baker, and allow them to continue their horrible deeds, while the rights of children like Zahra are ignored.

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15 Comments on And Yet They Did Nothing

  1. Well said! This is just one of many cases where “people” knew but NO one did anything about…we are definitely in a sad state in our country when we don’t reach out to help the helpless.

  2. MichaelG says:

    It’s a tragedy, but I seriously doubt this is anything new. What do you think happened to kids like this before there were caseworkers? Do you think a local church or the neighbors would have been able to just take the kid away?

    More power and money to social workers would probably save some of these kids, but that’s not the whole story. There are plenty of stories of kids being put into abusive foster homes after they’ve been taken from their own homes. And there are stories of kids being taken away from their parents because of drug use, and put in much worse situations.

    There’s no magic formula for making everyone in the world safe. And no substitute for parents that care.

  3. Mary Lou says:

    I’ve often wondered why so much money is spent on international adoptions when there are so many children already in this country who desperately need an advocate. Are children who don’t have parents that care disposable?

  4. Bob Martel says:

    Interesting question, Mary Lou. According to the US government, there were 12,753 adoption Visas issued in 2009 for US parents to adopt a foreign child. I wonder how many of those people even considered adopting a US child?

  5. Dave B. says:

    How sad. This just breaks my heart. As a society, we need to become more involved. When we see something, don’t be afraid to speak up. A lot of times everyone is thinking the same thing but no one wants to be the one to speak up first. I’m pushing myself to do that. “Hey, don’t do that” or “that isn’t right”. I don’t care what others may think about my comments. If every one does the same it may help. The child abusers get by because they aren’t called on it. So it just escalates. Get involved people!

  6. What I wonder is why the father came to the US and ‘married’ a woman he knew only on the internet and brought this child along.
    Did the ‘monster’ know she was getting a cancer-ridden handi-
    capped child in the deal or was the child a total surprise..
    This guy must have been a loser in Australia and how he got
    custody of the baby is not clear.. The child’s mother is still alive over there, so the ‘media’ says.. Everybody knows the SM
    did away with her somehow; why can’t the investigators break her down ?? This is going to be another Jon Bene Ramsey deal,
    knowing who did the deed and can’t prove it..

  7. Dale says:

    Another thought about children in need: There are many wonderful assistance programs out there to help children in need in Africa but what about the children in our country. In Appalachia, there are many children who live in poverty as deep as that in Africa but there are no agencies on TV trying to help them.

    To Butterbean Carpenter: Ignorance is expensive.

  8. D.Dot says:

    When it comes to crimes against children, it should be an eye for an eye. Children are innocent and defenseless. Any adult who abuses this via physical, sexual or mental abuse should be made to pay dearly for this crime.

  9. Frank Serrao says:

    This just goes to show you that Social Services is just another government program that doesn’t work, like Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, The Post Office, Medicare and Social Security – all bankrupt and run into the ground. And we entrusted the health care of this country to the same incompetent people. How dumb can we be. Government isn’t working and anybody that votes for the status quo and re-elects these incumbents is only asking for more of the same until we don’t have a country left. We better listen to what the Tea Party is telling us before its too late to save.

  10. George Stoltz says:

    I spent two years as a Court Appointed Special Advocate to the Juvenile Court in Lake County, IL. The CASA program works and can help prevent and stop some of these sad situations. The CASA program is basically self-sustaining and costs John Q. Public next to nothing, yet provides a great deal of service to those who need it most. Note to Frank Serraro: there is hope. Not all agencies fail those who need help. And there are many other fine organizations that help young children: Big Brother/Big Sisters is one. Another is Boy and Girls Clubs.

    Remember: It is better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness.

  11. Dale says:

    Note to Frank: The post office is not run by the government. And while it is worthwhile to re-visit the parameters of social security, the social security system is fully funded for the next 40 years as it was set up to run separately from the federal budget. Medicare is efficiently administered; however, Medicare has lost much money to corrupt individuals and corporations who have fraudulently billed Medicare.

  12. Roger Padget says:

    Geez Frank, give it a rest! No matter what the topic is, you have to hijack it and turn it into a political tirade. It gets old. Don’t you have a life outside of Fox News???

  13. Kenneth says:

    We mostly talk about how someone should have done something.
    We Are Someone.
    We Should Do What’s Right.

  14. Frank Serrao says:

    Yes the Post Office is run by the government and is broke. This year Social Security is spending more money in benefits than it is taking in (the funds for Social Security were not set aside but rather placed in the General Fund and used for all the earmarks and excessive spending the government has done) and Medicare is broke – mainly due to government mismanagement. If you blame fraud where was the government that is supposed to be overseeing this program.

    We’ve got to get our heads out of the sand and vote these people out of office on November 2. Let us vote for real change not broken promises.

  15. Paul Stough says:

    Frank- Had you been a German citizen at the time of World War II, you would have no doubt been one of the first people to volunteer to gas and burn the Jews! You and people like you are the scariest people in America!


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