Eric Bellas, the prosecutor in charge of the Zahra Clare Baker murder case, has been arrested for driving while intoxicated following a bicycle accident, police said.
Bellas, 45, was taken into custody early Tuesday, near the Sea Trail Golf Resort and Convention Center in Sunset Beach, N.C. According to police, Bellas, who is a chief assistant district attorney in Catawba County, was involved in a bicycle accident on Clubhouse Road.
"He refused treatment," Sunset Beach Police Chief Lisa Massey told The Huffington Post. "An officer came to the opinion that he was impaired [and] placed him under arrest."
According to court documents, the Australian-born girl was killed and her body was likely dismembered in the bathtub of her family's home in Hickory, N.C. Zahra, who had lost a leg to bone cancer and was hearing-impaired, was reported missing Oct. 9. On Nov. 12, police confirmed they had found her remains.
Elisa Baker has been indicted on a murder charge in the death of her stepdaughter, Zahra Baker, a disabled 10-year-old from North Carolina who was reported missing in October. Baker was previously indicted on a felony charge of obstruction of justice.
Elisa Baker, left, is escorted from the federal courthouse in Charlotte, N.C., Thursday, May 26, 2011 after an appearance on charges of trafficking prescription medications. Prosecutors say Baker, 43, distributed and planned to distribute drugs including oxycodone and hydrocodone between 2006 and last October. Baker is also charged in the death of her step-daughter, Zahra Baker.
Hickory police chief Tom Atkins fights back tears as he speaks at a news conference, Tuesday, October 12, 2010, announcing that the search for missing 10-year-old Zahra Baker was being changed to a homicide investigation.
The girl's father, Adam Baker, told police he last saw Zahra sleeping in her bed at about 2:30 a.m. on Oct. 9. He said he and his wife slept late that Saturday morning and did not notice Zahra was missing until about 2 p.m. Police believe the girl may have disappeared before then.
The indictment says Elisa Baker had a history of physical, verbal and psychological abuse of Zahra
Bellas was initially transported to the county jail, but officials there refused to admit him because of his injuries. The officer then transported the prosecutor to a local hospital, where doctors "deemed he was OK [for] transport back to the jail," Massey said.
Bellas allegedly refused to submit to alcohol tests and declined to comment on the bicycle accident. He was subsequently charged with operation of a bicycle while impaired.
Bellas is the lead prosecutor in the Zahra Baker murder case.
Zahra, a 10-year-old girl who survived cancer, was murdered and dismembered in October 2010. In November, AOL News obtained exclusive letters, believed to be written by Zahra's stepmother, Elisa Baker. In them, she discussed the disabled girl's disappearance and said something "kinda horrifying" was done with the young girl's remains.
Baker is currently in custody and awaiting trial for the second-degree murder of Zahra. The young girl's father, Adam Baker, has not been charged in connection with his daughter's death.
It is not yet clear how Bellas's arrest will impact the Baker case.
According to Donald Farr, chief legal assistant for the Catawba County District Attorney's Office, Bellas has been placed on administrative leave and "relieved of his prosecutorial duties."
Bellas is scheduled to appear in court on Aug. 18.