Zahra Clare Baker, in a photo released by the FBI.

While the search for 10 year old Zahra Clare Baker from North Carolina continues, authorities have become suspicious and shifted the investigation from an abduction to a homicide probe.

The girl’s stepmother, Elisa Baker, was originally arrested on bad check charges and now is also being held for obstruction of justice. She has been under a $31,500 bail for the bad check and felony larceny charges.  The father, Adam Baker, faces similar charges but authorities are holding off on arresting him while he cooperates with the police.

Authorities have said that the father seems concerned, but they are unsure how sincere his concern is.  The stepmother has admitted to writing the ransom note that was found on the scene and has requested a lawyer in the matter.

While Zahra was reported missing on Saturday about 2:00 p.m.,  authorities believe that she could have been missing for as long as a month.  Her parents reported that she was last seen in the bed about 12 hours before her disappearance at 2:30am.

When the father called police at 2:00 p.m. Saturday, he reported that someone had poured gas into his car and left a note that they had his bosses daughter. He believed those same people abducted Zahra. The Bakers consented to a search of their home. Cadaver dogs found the presence of possible human remains in two vehicles on the property.

According to a neighbor, Nancy Webb, the authorities are also searching a work site that the father works on for his boss. She says he helps to carry wood and brush to a wood chipper which then makes mulch. She reports that the investigators have been searching a brush pile.

Neighbors reportedly feared for the child’s safety, some saying that Elisa Baker often bragged of spanking the girl so hard her hand hurt. Zahra wore hearing aids and wore a prosthetic leg due to bone cancer. Her biological mother lives outside the U.S.