HICKORY, N.C. – Police say the father of Zahra Baker is in the United States illegally and will be deported once his legal matters are resolved.
Hickory police arrested Adam Baker on charges of identity theft and obtaining property under false pretense on Tuesday.
Maj. Clyde Deal says Adam Baker is accused of obtaining service from Duke Energy last July using another man's name.
“Obviously this is an incident that took place last year,” Deal said. “We were not made aware of the incident or the alleged violations until December.”
The new charges come just one day after Adam Baker said he wants to clear up his legal matters and leave the country for Australia.
"As soon as all these matter are resolved and he has permission he is heading back home to Australia," his lawyer, Shell Pearce said on Monday.
Deal said police would have preferred to present the case to a grand jury, but felt pressed for time.
“Did the charging get expedited because he was talking about leaving? Yes,” Deal said. “There has been a detainer placed on him so that once all of his legal charges have been addressed here, then he can be deported.”
Resident Patrick Jean has followed the latest developments in the case.
"You don't want him to get away to Australia where it'll be harder if they have charges against him in the Zahra case," Jean said.
At the town square in Hickory Tuesday night, people like Daniel Angebranndt say investigators are on the right track.
"I think if they have any information, keep him here. It's an open investigation," he said.
Adam Baker surrendered his passport during the investigation into Zahra’s disappearance. He has not been charged in her death.
Adam Baker’s wife, Elisa Baker, is charged with murder in connection with Zahra Baker’s death. The couple reported Zahra Baker missing in October. Police eventually found the girl's remains in different locations around western North Carolina, and Elisa Baker told authorities that she had been dismembered, according to warrants.
A search warrant unsealed in January said Elisa Baker led police to the places where they found Zahra Baker's remains. She claimed that Adam dismembered the body. Adam Baker has denied any involvement with his daughter’s death.
"We all feel a little of Zahra, like she's our child. We want justice, even if it is her father,” Jean said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.