Courts & Crime

Police in Zahra Baker case say possible evidence found at N.C. landfill

Employees at a Lenoir landfill on Tuesday discovered a mattress they say may have belonged to Zahra Baker, police said, possibly providing a breakthrough in the nearly three-week search for the missing 10-year-old girl.

Workers were grading the Foothills Environmental Landfill when they uncovered a mattress, which investigators said matches the description of the one used by Zahra.

Investigators last week called the mattress a key piece of evidence they said might help them establish an accurate timeline for Zahra's disappearance - and might yield DNA evidence.

Police said they turned over the mattress to the State Bureau of Investigation for testing.

Investigators unsuccessfully combed the landfill for three days last week. Officials said the Zahra's parents disposed of her mattress just days before reporting her missing Oct. 9.

Hickory police Deputy Chief Clyde Deal said Tuesday the discovery is a potentially significant moment in the case, but he would not elaborate.

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