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The final mystery in the tragic US murder and dismemberment of disabled Australian schoolgirl Zahra Baker has been solved.
After months of analysis, a skull found in North Carolina bushland by a hunter last April has been identified as Zahra's.
The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation's crime lab, the state's medical examiner and experts at Marshall University in West Virginia used Zahra's DNA profile to make the identification.
"This information gives the members of Team Zahra mixed emotions," Caldwell County chief of police Tom Adkins told North Carolina TV station WCNC.
"It brings up the tragedy of Zahra's death and the life she lived before she was killed, but it also gives us and the community a sense of finally bringing her home."
The tests did not reveal how Zahra was killed and the Australian Embassy will assist in Zahra's remains being taken back to Australia for burial.
Zahra's stepmother, Elisa Baker, is serving a 15- to 18-year sentence for the 2010 murder and dismemberment of the Wagga Wagga-born 10-year-old, who battled bone cancer during her short and tragic life.
Baker, a self-described gothic and pagan, scattered Zahra's body parts and a prosthetic leg in bushland kilometres away from their home in Hickory, North Carolina.
Zahra's father, Adam, was not charged in relation to his daughter's murder and has returned to Australia.