Hickory Police Maj. Clyde Deal said searchers found the leg at a home where the stepmother of 10-year-old Zahra Clare Baker's once lived. The girl had an artificial leg because she lost hers to bone cancer. Zahra, who also uses hearing aids, was reported missing Oct. 9 and authorities believe she is dead.
Deal said the prosthetic leg was discovered Tuesday afternoon near some brush in Caldwell County.
Zahra's stepmother, Elisa Baker, 42, has been charged with obstruction of justice. Police said she acknowledged to writing a bogus ransom note found at the scene of a fire in the family's back yard on the day her stepdaughter was reported missing.
The girl's father, Adam Baker, 33, was arrested Monday. He is facing one count each of assault with a deadly weapon and failure to return rental property, two counts of communicating threats and five counts of writing worthless checks, authorities said. They are not related to his missing daughter's case.
Authorities in recent weeks have combed wooded areas and a landfill for evidence or her body.
Deal said Tuesday that Elisa Baker was taken earlier this week to a home where she once lived. At the time, he did not elaborate.
Hickory police also said Tuesday that investigators seized a mattress found by workers at a Caldwell County landfill. Deal said the mattress will be tested for DNA evidence.