CATAWBA COUNTY, N.C. -- The father of 10-year-old Zahra Baker is no longer being held at the Catawba County Jail but it’s unclear exactly where Adam Baker is now.
Authorities said Baker was picked up recently by immigration officials, but U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said he is not currently in its custody.
Citing privacy issues, ICE spokesman Temple Black would not confirm whether immigration agents took Baker into custody or whether he was released.
Federal prison records list an Adam Baker in custody at a federal prison in Anthony, Texas, but show that person has been in custody since 2009.
ICE placed an immigration detainer on Baker after he was arrested earlier this month on felony charges of identity theft and obtaining property by false pretenses. He was due to return to court on May 4 for a hearing on the criminal charges.
Zahra Baker, a cancer survivor who lost part of her leg, gained international attention after she disappeared last October and her dismembered body was later discovered.
The girl's stepmother, Elisa Baker, 42, has been charged with second-degree murder. She has denied wrongdoing and accuses her husband of dismembering his daughter's body after she discovered Zahra dead from an illness.
Adam Baker has denied any involvement in the death and has not been charged. His attorney told reporters this month that Baker seeks to return to his native Australia once he settles his legal issues.
Baker was identified as living in the country illegally by the Catawba County Jail when he was arrested last year on unrelated charges. He posted bond, however, before immigration officials alerted the jail of his illegal status. Family members say Adam Baker and his daughter came to the U.S. on a visa, possibly a tourist visa, that later expired.