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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- An appeals court says a judge made the right decision when he unsealed search warrants in the case of a 10-year-old disabled girl from Australia whose stepmother killed her in North Carolina.

A Catawba County Superior Court judge sealed search warrants with critical details of the Zahra Baker case in October, 2010. But another judge released the documents a month later after several news organizations asked to see the warrants.

The North Carolina Court of Appeals on Tuesday upheld that move, saying the prosecutor's office missed a deadline to file a motion that could have kept the documents sealed.

Zahra was killed and dismembered in 2010. Her stepmother, Elisa Baker, pleaded guilty last year to second-degree murder. Zahra's father, Adam, returned to his Australia in January with his daughter's remains.

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