ST. LOUIS (WKOW) -- Police say the man who shot himself as officers approached him about the disappearance of 4-year-old Alisa Maier was almost certainly the man who abducted her.
Authorities on Thursday said Paul S. Smith, 38, of Hawk Point, Mo., was the suspect in the case. He died late Wednesday at a St. Charles hospital.
Smith was a convicted sex offender.
Police tracked him down after noticing new clothes Alisa was wearing after she was recovered. Officers determined those clothes came from a Wal-Mart store in Troy and surveillance video from the store pointed them to Smith.
Alisa was kidnapped from the front yard of her Louisiana, Mo., home Monday night and was found Tuesday night after she had been dropped off at a car wash about 70 miles away.
FENTON, Mo. (WKOW) -- They're calling it a miracle -- a 4-year-old girl abducted from the yard of her home, found safe 70 miles away more than 24 hours later.
Authorities found missing 4-year-old Alisa Maier alive in the St. Louis suburb of Fenton at a gas station. Police officials say they received a call reporting "a boy" wandering near the car wash, who was later identified at Alisa.
She was taken to a hospital for evaluation. Her grandfather, Roy Harrison, told NBC's Today Show on Wednesday that she appeared to be unharmed.
Police say they are still searching for the suspect that abducted Alisa, who was snatched in her front yard in Louisiana, Missouri. Police are searching for the dark-colored sedan that Alisa's 6-year-old brother reported was used in the abduction, and that witnesses saw around the car wash in Fenton.
Maier and her 5-year-old brother had been playing in the front yard around 8 p.m. on Monday, and officials later said the boy told an officer that a man he didn't know pulled up and ordered his sister to get in.