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Australian father of murdered 10-year-old Zahra Baker jailed in US

The Australian father of murdered 10-year-old cancer survivor, Zahra Baker, has been jailed in North Carolina.

Us sc courthouse 2011 04 14Enlarge
Jenny Sanford,left, is followed by media as she leaves Charleston County Courthouse after she was granted a divorce on grounds of adultery from South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford February 26, 2010 in Charleston, South Carolina. (Mary Ann Chastain/AFP/Getty Images)

The father of murdered 10-year-old Australian girl Zahra Baker has been jailed in North Carolina after police, concerned he planned to move back to his homeland, charged him with fresh offences.

Police investigating the horrific murder and dismemberment of Zahra arrested Australian-born Adam Baker earlier this week hours after his lawyer, Shell Pearce, spoke to the media about his client's desire to leave North Carolina and return to Australia, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.

Zahra, a cancer survivor who lost part of her leg, disappeared last October and her body was recovered dismembered.

Zahra's American stepmother, Elisa Baker (pictured in an AOL report), has been charged with the murder and dismemberment of Zahra and is in custody. She has accused her husband of dismembering his daughter's body after she discovered Zahra dead from an illness.

Baker appeared in court on Wednesday on felony charges of identity theft and obtaining property by false pretenses. The charges, reportedly relating to last July when the Bakers moved from Caldwell County to Hickory, N.C., and applied for electrical service from Duke Energy, carry a maximum 30-month jail sentence.

Baker has been living in the U.S. illegally, the Charlotte Observer reported, quoting Catawba County jail officials.

Immigration officials have reportedly placed a detainer on Baker, meaning even if he posts the $10,000 bond, he will remain in custody.

''Did the charging get expedited because he was talking about leaving? Yes,'' said Hickory Police Department's Major Clyde Deal, according to the SMH.