- Associated Press - Monday, May 7, 2012

WHITEVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A man accused of abducting a mother and her three daughters has been described as being like an uncle to the girls.

Now Adam Mayes, 35, is the subject of an Amber Alert and faces charges in the disappearance of Jo Ann Bain and her daughters: 14-year-old Adrienne, 12-year-old Alexandria and 8-year-old Kyliyah.

Meanwhile, FBI spokesman Joel Siskovic said Sunday that authorities were trying to identify two bodies found at a Mississippi home Mr. Mayes has been linked to. He would not say if they were children. Authorities have described Mr. Mayes as being armed and extremely dangerous.

Mrs. Bain’s husband, Gary, and Mr. Mayes knew each other, Tennessee authorities said.

Mr. Mayes “thought the world of those little girls,” observed Melvin Herron, 42, who lives next door to the Bain family in western Tennessee and recalled seeing the girls playing outside, running and going down water slides.

On Sunday, forensic scientists with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation searched the garage and backyard at the Hardeman County, Tenn., home where Mrs. Bain, her husband and the three girls live.

Mr. Bain declined to comment Sunday to an Associated Press reporter.

“Jo Ann and the kids, everyone loves them. We’re just hoping to hear that they’re safe,” said Linda Kirkland, a family friend and cook at the Country Cafe in Whiteville, Tenn.

Ms. Kirkland said Sunday that the woman and her daughters were moving to Arizona because two of the girls had asthma. Other than dealing with a recent death in the family, Mrs. Bain, who frequented the restaurant, never indicated anything was wrong.

“She seemed so happy,” Ms. Kirkland said.

Mrs. Bain and her daughters last were seen in their home early April 27, according to Kristin Helm, a spokeswoman for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

Mr. Mayes and Mr. Bain long have been acquainted, once having been married to sisters. Ms. Helm said he was viewed as an uncle.

Mayes is a family friend who was staying there that night to help the family pack and drive a U-Haul to Arizona the next day with Gary because the family was planning on moving there within the month,” Ms. Helm said. “Gary was asleep at the home that night and woke to find them gone in the morning and the car gone. Mayes was gone, too.”

Mr. Bain woke up after the kids typically went to school, so he didn’t expect to see them, Ms. Helm said, but then he tried calling his wife on her cellphone during the day and couldn’t reach her.

When the girls didn’t get off the school bus, he reported them missing to the sheriff’s office that evening.

Ms. Helm said Mr. Bain’s adult daughter and his granddaughter also had spent the night at the family’s home, but that the grown daughter didn’t see Mrs. Bain or the girls the next morning. And the car was missing.

On April 30, the vehicle was found abandoned in Hardeman County, which is about 70 miles east of Memphis. Mrs. Bain and her daughters left most of their personal belongings at the house, Ms. Helm said.

On Friday, the TBI reported that the girls were with Mr. Mayes in Mississippi, but there was no evidence that a crime had been committed.

Mr. Mayes last was seen Tuesday in Guntown, Miss., about 80 miles southeast of the Bains’ Tennessee home.

Siskovic said authorities talked to Mayes early on in the investigation, but that he fled when they tried to contact him again. Authorities said Mayes did not appear to have a criminal record.

Police had been trying to determine whether Jo Ann Bain went with Mayes willingly.

By Friday, Mayes had a warrant on file in Hardeman County for false report stemming from information he gave investigators about the case.

Mr. Siskovic said Saturday that the bodies were found late Friday or early Saturday in a Mississippi home. He wasn’t sure if the home belonged to Mr. Mayes or an acquaintance.

The Mississippi Highway Patrol issued an Amber Alert on Saturday morning for the girls, and Tennessee authorities also have issued an alert.

The Mississippi Department of Public Safety said Saturday it believed “the children may be in extreme danger,” and that warrants for kidnapping had been issued for Mr. Mayes.

The FBI and U.S. Marshals Service also announced a reward of up to $50,000 for information that leads to the location of the missing victims and the arrest of Mr. Mayes.

Authorities said over the weekend that Mr. Mayes could be in Mississippi but that he has ties to Arizona, Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida.

Authorities described Adrienne as having brown hair and eyes. She’s 5 feet 4 inches tall and 129 pounds. Alexandria has brown hair and hazel eyes and is 5 feet tall and 105 pounds. Kyliyah has blond hair and brown eyes and is 4 feet tall and 57 pounds.

Mr. Mayes has brown hair and blue eyes and is 6 feet 3 inches tall and weighs 175 pounds.

However, authorities said Mr. Mayes may have cut his hair, as well as cut and dyed the girls’ hair to disguise their identities.

Back in the Bains’ neighborhood, Mr. Herron, their neighbor, said he hoped the bodies found in Mississippi were not the girls or their mother.

“I’m praying to God it’s not those little girls,” he said.

Associated Press writer Holbrook Mohr in Jackson, Miss., contributed to this report.



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