July 7th, 2010
10:08 AM ET

Missing 4-year-old girl found alive, police search for suspect

Authorities have found a missing 4-year-old Missouri girl and are searching for a mysterious dark-colored car with a loud muffler that may be connected to the case, police said early Wednesday.

Alisa Maier, whose disappearance prompted an Amber Alert, was found in Fenton, Missouri, about 10:15 p.m. Tuesday (11:15 p.m. ET) at a car wash and taken to a hospital, the St. Louis County police department said.

Witnesses said they first saw and heard a dark-colored car, maybe black or brown, with an extremely loud muffler at the car wash. Then they saw a child walking in the area that they first mistook as a boy, said St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch.

"We have reason to believe she was associated with the car at the car wash," said Fitch.

The witnesses called police who came to area and realized that the child was Maier, Fitch said.

Alisa was snatched from the front yard of her home in Louisiana, Missouri, on Monday evening while she was playing with her brother, police there said.

Anita McKlevis, who lives across the street from the family, said Alisa's mother was "just beside herself" and tried to pursue the man who abducted the girl.

"She jumped up and went across the street, got into her van and took off,"  McKlevis told HLN's "Issues with Jane Velez-Mitchell."

She said the children were regularly supervised by parents or grandparents while playing outside: "I never seen this little girl without her parents," McKlevis added.

Louisiana is about 80 miles north of St. Louis.

Michael Kaste, an agent from the FBI's St. Louis office, said between 75 and 100 law enforcement officers - including about 30 FBI agents - and about 50 volunteers took part in the search. Investigators also questioned known sex offenders about the girl's abduction, he said.

Earlier, police Chief Richard Hughes of Louisiana - about 80 miles north of St. Louis - said his investigators had no indication that her kidnapping was anything other than a random abduction.

The town of about 4,000 is located just across the Mississippi River from Illinois.


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soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. Nancy

    no 4 or 5 yr old should be left alone outside at 8pm. very lucky she is ok.

    July 7, 2010 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sandy

      I agree with Nancy in that Alisa was so fortunate to be found alive. Hardly ever do we hear about children who have lived after instances like this. I saw the picture and heard a TV reporter giving out information to the viewers last evening about the abduction. He was standing in front of the Mississippi River. My heart sunk for fear that is where they would find this poor child. I will not judge the fact that Alisa and her brother were playing alone outside at 8 PM. In this 21st Century, it could have happened at 4 in the afternoon. The parents are good parents from all accounts and they have been hurt by this and are probably blaming themselves for every second Alisa was missing. Living in St. Louis and growing up here is a lot different than living in a community of 4,000. I never let my child out of my sight before, during or after 8 PM in St. Louis when she was 4 years old. But when living in a small town, I am sure people never thought this could happen and even said as much being interviewed on television. Alisa's parents have already gone through a lot, and to judge them isn't my call. This can now be a "wake up" call that anything is possible anywhere and at any time to our kids be it 8 am or 8 pm. The world can be a scary place and you can never stress enough to your children – to never talk to strangers and never approach a car or person you don't know. Kids may get tired of hearing it but It bears repeating to all children especially those at a young and vulnerable age. Louisiana, Missouri has always had a special meaning for me. My father – 50 years ago – hunted on farmland in Louisiana, Missouri. I can remember his stories of all the wonderful people he met who were gracious and kind to him. My heart went out to all of those people when Alisa was taken. My father passed away in 1994 and I prayed to him last night to ask God to help keep Alisa safe and to be returned to her parents. I thought about the nice people my father talked about years ago, and about this child and the efforts and courageous people in that area who worked hard to find her. I have never been to Louisiana, Missouri, but my dad knew every inch of that land because of the nice farmers who allowed him to hunt on their property. What a happy ending to Alisa, her parents and to people who take care of each other in that community.

      July 7, 2010 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Della

    Many of you know that Alisa was found at a carwash in Fenton, MO. However, you may not realize just how much thie community is rejoicing that this child was found alive. Eight years ago, in July of 2002, my great niece, Cassandra "Casey" Williamson was abducted and killed in our small town of Valley Park, which is right across the river from Fenton. The loss of Casey was devastating for our area and changed our lives forever, so we are incredibly grateful that the prayers of Alisa's friends and family have been answered. Although it is terrible that this child has had to endure this experience, the important thing is that she is alive. She has a family who loves her and they will see her through. Her parents will get to show her that she is loved every day, and tuck her in at night. That is something that many take for granted, but sadly, everyone must remember that dangers lurk in places you may never suspect.
    Missouri has been blessed before when Shawn Hornbeck and Ben Owenby were found alive a few years ago in Kirkwood, another nearby community. I'm thankful for the wonderful law enforcement agencies and the Amber Alert system, and also for observant witnesses and an involved community that play an important part in the recovery of these children.
    Alisa had an angel watching over her.... her name was Casey.

    July 8, 2010 at 4:40 am | Report abuse |
  3. abbydaddy

    Seems to me MO does a good job publicizing the abductions, which can contribute to more cases turning out well like this one.

    August 10, 2010 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
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