Smart Sleuthing Led Cops to Abductor

Traced girl's new clothes to store, saw him on camera
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 8, 2010 3:29 PM CDT

The sex offender who abducted a 4-year-old girl in Missouri slipped up when he bought her new clothes. When police found Alisa Maier wandering 24 hours after she was taken from her front lawn, they traced the tags on her clothes to a local Wal-Mart, then found their suspect on the store's surveillance camera. It helped that Paul Smith also bought cigarettes and had to provide a date of birth, reports AP.

When police then arrived at his house, Smith shot himself and later died. "It's over," said the local police chief. "There's no reason to believe at this point that anyone else was involved." A smiling Alisa, meanwhile, who also was given a haircut as part of an apparent attempt to disguise her, enjoyed a joyous small-town homecoming. Her grandfather tells the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that when she saw a photo of Smith on TV, she said, "He cut my hair." (More Alisa Maier stories.)

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