Hunt for Adam Mayes, kidnap-slaying suspect, puts Mississippi community on edge
In this photo made from surveillance video and released by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Adam Mayes, 35, stands in front of the counter at a convenience store on April 30, 2012 in Union County, Miss., about three days after Jo Ann Bain and her daughters disappeared. Authorities say Mayes abducted Bain and her three daughters. Bain and her oldest daughter were found dead. The two younger girls are still missing. / CBS/AP
(AP) GUNTOWN, Miss. - A Mississippi manhunt for a fugitive accused of kidnapping and a double slaying had small town residents on lockdown Thursday and shattered the feeling of safety in a place where everyone knows their neighbors.
The hunt for Adam Mayes and the two young sisters he is accused of kidnapping has encompassed parts of at least three counties in northern Mississippi. Federal agents, state troopers and SWAT teams wearing protective gear and armed with high powered rifles have made multiple forays into the woods in search of Mayes or a hideout he may have used.
Authorities say they think the missing girls, Alexandria Bain, 12, and Kyliyah Bain, 8, are still with Mayes, nearly two weeks after he fled with them.
Shelby Bryan, 40, is a cashier at the County Line No.1, where Mayes was seen on video after the girls disappeared. She said people are frightened and upset.Relative: Accused killer thinks girls are his own
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"Some people don't want to be alone. Some women are scared to go home until their husbands get there. Then you have some that don't want to leave their house," Bryan said. "I have husbands coming in here telling me, `My wife made me put the gun beside the bed last night."'
Mayes and his wife, Teresa, were charged Wednesday with first-degree murder in the deaths of Jo Ann Bain, 31, and her daughter, Adrienne, 14. Their bodies were found buried outside the Mayes' home near Guntown a week after they were reported missing by Jo Ann Bain's husband, Gary.
Mayes' mother-in-law Josie Tate told The Associated Press that Mayes thought the missing sisters might actually be his daughters and it caused problems in his marriage to her daughter, Teresa Mayes, who is jailed in the case.
"She was tired of him doting on those two little girls that he claimed were his," Tate said.
Neighbors of Mayes have been questioned and one was arrested on a warrant unrelated to the Mayes case. One neighbor loosed his brown pit bull in an apparent effort to ward away media and onlookers stopping to get a glimpse of the home where Jo Ann Bain and her daughter were buried in the backyard.
The search area includes a mix of thick pine woods, large open fields, creeks and small lakes. Back roads crisscross the area. Some are wide enough for only one vehicle at a time. Residents say there are plenty of abandoned homes, empty trailers and small outbuildings where someone could hide.
Authorities said Mayes has changed his appearance since the mother and children were reported missing. They released surveillance video of him with short hair at a market near Guntown.
Natasha McGee, owner of Nala Childcare in Guntown, said she has been keeping kids inside and talking to them about avoiding strangers. She said police stop by from time to time.
"I think people are scared, mostly. We've been on lockdown for a couple of days, making sure all the doors are locked and our gates are locked," McGee said. "It's just a scary thing. I can't believe it happened in our small town. Nothing like that has even happened to us before."
McGee said the case is puzzling, and Mayes and his family are mysterious to many residents.
"We're just so confused about how this all started. We know everybody around here, but nobody knows him or his family. Like I said, it's just a peculiar case for us. I hope it's over soon."
Authorities have put Mayes on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List and urged him to surrender. The reward for information leading to Mayes' arrest is now at $171,000.
Kidnap-slaying suspect kills himself, missing girls found alive
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