ST. LOUIS — Police say the man who shot himself as officers approached him about the disappearance of 4-year-old Alisa Meier was almost certainly the man who abducted her.
Authorities on Thursday said 38-year-old Paul S. Smith 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 snatched 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.