HAWK POINT — After abducting 4-year-old Alisa Maier, police say, Paul S. Smith took the Missouri girl to a remote and rotting cabin and introduced her to a neighbor as his nephew.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Friday reported details obtained from search warrants in the case. Alisa, kidnapped around 8 p.m. on July 5, was found, apparently unharmed, a little more than 24 hours later wandering around a car wash in suburban St. Louis, some 70 miles from her Louisiana, Mo., home.
Smith, 38, fatally shot himself on July 7 as officers approached him.
An elderly man who lives near the decaying cabin in Hawk Point told investigators he met Smith on the afternoon or early evening of July 6 and was led to believe that Alisa was a boy. Her hair had been cut short.
Smith, a convicted sex offender, was released from jail on drug convictions in June. Police say he went on a crime spree that included dozens of burglaries in the Hawk Point area, the killing of a car repair shop owner and the kidnapping of Alisa. Previously, Smith had served 11 years for a 1995 sodomy conviction.
Property records show the cabin where Smith took Alisa is owned by another sex offender, James Oellermann Jr. Smith and Oellermann served time together in two prisons, according to the Missouri Department of Corrections. Oellermann is not accused of wrongdoing. Police have not returned calls seeking comment on whether he was there.
At the cabin, police found a .380-caliber handgun hidden in a black vinyl case beneath the front porch, a utility knife, bullets and shell casings, two crowbars, and a copy of the book "Encyclopedia of Serial Killers." They also seized a laptop computer, video camera, handwritten notes, clothing and a cell phone.
Police seized a variety children's clothing from Smith's blue 1991 Mazda.
Ballistics tests showed the pistol recovered at the cabin was used in the killing of 49-year-old Jeffrey Smith, who was shot to death outside his car repair shop on July 3 — two days before Alisa was abducted.
Police who picked up Alisa at the Fenton car wash noticed she was wearing new clothing that was traced to a Walmart store in Troy. Surveillance video showed Smith buying the clothing and cigarettes with cash. Because of the cigarettes purchase, the clerk checked his identification, helping officers track him to the cabin.
The Post-Dispatch described the cabin as having a blue tarp draped over its rotting roof to keep rain out. Inside, it was littered with crushed beer cans, empty cigarette boxes and other debris. Mold covered the walls beneath the kitchen's caved-in ceiling. The front yard included old furniture, rusting appliances and an ax.