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Alisa Maier found alive, suspected kidnapper commits suicide, Amber Alert canceled

7-8-2010 Missouri:

Alisa Maier, the four-year-old girl who was abducted from her Missouri home has been found alive. The investigation led authorities from the St. Louis County Police Department to zero in on a convicted sex offender, Paul Smith. When approached by authorities, Paul Smith shot himself. He died last night at 10:30 p.m. Authorities have said that their investigation into who abducted Alisa Maier is now over.

During a press conference, St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch spoke of the media’s speculation that Paul Smith was the suspect in the case. He said, “We believe at this point we have plenty of evidence to believe that the person you previously reported as a person of interest, Paul Smith, is the suspect. There is no reason to believe at this point anyone else was involved."

According to Chief Fitch, when Alisa Maier was found alive she was wearing new clothes. The clothes were tracked back to a Wal-Mart store in Troy, Missouri. Surveillance video showed the now deceased suspect, Paul Smith purchase the clothes. Alisa was not with the suspect at the time her purchased the clothing. When Smith purchased the clothes he bought cigarettes that required him to reveal his birth date. With that information, investigators tracked him down.

Authorities located Paul Smith, a convicted sex offender, at a home located at 309 Highway D in Hawk Point, Missouri. Officers went to the home to conduct their investigation and upon their arrival, Paul Smith shot himself.

Paul Smith was convicted in 1995 of sodomizing a ten year old boy. He had recently been released from prison. ..Source.. Charisse Van Horn

Missouri Man Eyed in Abduction Case Fatally Shoots Self

7-8-2010 Missouri:

A Missouri sex offender who shot himself as police approached to question him about the kidnapping of 4-year-old Alisa Maier has died.

The man died Wednesday night at a hospital in St. Charles, Missouri Highway Patrol Sgt. Al Nothum told The Associated Press. The Lincoln County sheriff's department earlier told AOL News it could not confirm the report.

Alisa's 6-year-old brother, Blake, was the only witness to her abduction. He told police a man driving a dark four-door sedan pulled up in front of their house Monday night and ordered her into the car. She was found a day later wandering around a car wash parking lot in a St. Louis suburb more than 80 miles from her home. Details were reported by several news agencies.

On Wednesday, police following up on more than 100 leads approached the Hawk Point, Mo., home of a man they refused to publicly identify, but whom many local news outlets named as Paul Sterling Smith. His house was about halfway between Alisa's home in the town of Louisiana and Fenton, the St. Louis suburb where she was found.

At 4:30 p.m., Smith was outside his home spray-painting his car silver, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. When police approached, they realized that Smith had a handgun and ordered him to drop it. He refused and then shot himself in the head, the newspaper reported. He had been listed in critical condition before his death was reported.

Local Fox News affiliate KTVI also identified the man as Paul S. Smith, 38, and said he was listed on the Missouri sex offender registry as having sodomized a 10-year-old boy in 1995. He also served prison time on charges of tampering with a motor vehicle and receiving stolen property, the station reported.

Smith's roommate at the Hawk Point house is reportedly James Oellermann, a fellow sex offender on the state's registry. The 54-year-old was convicted of first-degree child molestation of a 7-year-old girl, and sentenced in 2004 to five years in prison, the Post-Dispatch reported. He also had a prior conviction for possession of child pornography. Oellermann isn't believed to be involved in Alisa's kidnapping, however.

Even after Smith shot himself, police still refused to call him a suspect in the case. "We're not saying this is a suspect. He's a person of interest," Nothum said in comments carried by several news agencies.

Family members told NBC that when Alisa saw the man's picture on TV on Wednesday night, she said: "That's the man who cut my hair, Daddy." And when Blake saw the photo, he said: "That's the man who took Alisa," according to NBC's "Today."

Authorities also wouldn't comment on whether Alisa was sexually assaulted during her roughly 26-hour ordeal. She was examined at a St. Louis hospital for nearly three hours on Tuesday night, where she was also reunited with her parents.

The girl's great-aunt, Angela Reddick, told the AP that Alisa was unharmed and hasn't been assaulted in any way.

"The only thing he did was cut her hair to change her appearance -- he tried to disguise the fact she was a girl," Reddick said of the kidnapper. "Evidently this man did not harm her and was not mean to her. She's doing great."

Church billboards and electronic bank signs in the Maiers' hometown of Louisiana carried celebratory messages about her rescue, and well-wishers left balloons and teddy bears on the family's front porch, the AP reported.

"I turned on the news and my wife and I both started crying and fell down to our knees and thanked the Lord," Terry Cook, a pastor who helped organize a candlelight vigil while Alisa was still missing, told the AP. ..Source..

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