Monday night July 5th at 1017 p.m. I received an Amber Alert notice on my mobile phone. The Amber Alert was from Louisiana Missouri looking for a black 4 door passenger car, four year old white female three feet tall and weighs 40 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes with a 20 year old white male with dark hair and asking anyone with information to call 573-754-4021 or 911.
I immediately went to the amber alert site and learned that Alisa Maier a 4 year old girl was taken from her front yard as she played with her 6 year old brother. I wondered how with so little information this little girl would be found. Louisiana Missouri is around 80 miles outside of Saint Louis. It is a relatively small town, where neighbors know each other and look out for one another.
There were reports some of the neighbors saw a black car driving around the area, yet a carnival was in town for the July 4th weekend. Strangers coming and going all weekend through the area and the Maier’s front yard is not far from highway 79 is a straight shot into and out of the area. The FBI joined the search and local volunteers went door to door looking for Alisa Maier and handing out flyers with her picture.
Tuesday evening July 6th around 945 pm Alisa Maier was found in a Fenton Missouri car wash. Her hair had been cut short, and she was wearing different clothes, but she was reunited with her family. In addition several people witnessed a black 4-door passenger car possibly with front end damage in the area. Two men said the driver approached them appearing very anxious asked to borrow a cell phone and when they refused he asked where a payphone was located.
As police viewed video from the Troy Missouri Wal-Mart store where the abductor bought Alisa Maier new clothes and a carton of cigarettes they made a positive identification that Alisa's abductor was Paul Sterling Smith a convicted child sex offender. Paul Sterling Smith was convicted in 1995 of sodomizing a ten year old boy and given a 15 year sentence. The boy he sodomized was the son of a girlfriend he lived with at the time in Rolla Missouri.
Paul Smith was just released in June approximately 2 weeks before Alisa Maier was abducted for breaking into a car repair shop and using drugs while on probation or parole. On Wednesday police approached a man fitting the description of Paul Sterling Smith sitting in a car registered to Paul Smith in the Hawk Point area to question him in the Alisa Maier kidnapping when he shot himself. Initially it was reported he died at the scene but later authorities clarified he was in critical condition at a local hospital, but later died from his self inflicted injuries.
Since his death police have determined Paul Sterling Smith was the abductor of Alisa Maier and also the murdere of 49 year old Jeff Smith who is the owner of Smitty’s garage in Hawk Point Missouri. Jeff Smith may have interrupted a robbery when he was shot at his place of business on July 3rd just two days prior to Alisa Maier's abduction from Louisiana Missouri.
The community of Jeff Smith has nothing negative to say him; he was loved and well respected and leaves behind a grieving family. Police say a second gun found in Paul Smith’s home has matched ballistic te on the bullet that killed Jeff Smith.
Apparently, Paul Smith lived in Louisiana Missouri and graduated from the local high school when he was a teen, so he knew the area well. This may be why he chose to pursue a child in that area. This has been a whirl wind week of crime and chaos as one man is murdered during a holiday weekend celebration just two days before an innocent child is abducted by a career criminal, who was given an early release just two weeks before his final crime spree.
Ironically when Paul Smith was released in June he had been serving time for robbing another car shop in the area and police believed he is responsible for the many recent break-ins around the area in the last two weeks.
Alisa Maier's safe return is a testament to the effectiveness an Amber Alert can have in fidning an abducted child. I never in a million years believed with the vague car and abductor information sent out in Monday night’s Amber Alert could possibly lead to a happy ending for the family of Alisa Maier. I do believe her brother Blake was very observant in telling his parents and police what he saw when his sister was taken and that he played a huge part in her safe return.
My prayers will continue for the families of Jeff Smith, Alisa Maier and all of the people affected by Paul Smith horrific choices, including Paul Smith's family. What a tesatament to the people of Missouri who paid attention to the Amber Alert and help get Alisa Maier home safely. God bless!