GUNTOWN, Miss. (AP) — A Mississippi manhunt for a fugitive accused of kidnapping and a double slaying had small town residents on lockdown Thursday and shattered the feeling of safety in a place where everyone knows their neighbors.
The hunt for Adam Mayes and the two young sisters he is accused of kidnapping has encompassed parts of at least three counties in northern Mississippi. Federal agents, state troopers and SWAT teams wearing protective gear and armed with high-powered rifles have made multiple forays into the woods in search of Mayes or a hideout he may have used.
Authorities say they think the missing girls, Alexandria Bain, 12, and Kyliyah Bain, 8, are still with Mayes, nearly two weeks after he fled with them.
Authorities have put Mayes on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List and urged him to surrender. The reward for information leading to his arrest is now $171,000.
Shelby Bryan, 40, is a cashier at the County Line No.1, where Mayes was seen on video after the girls disappeared. She said people are frightened and upset.
“Some people don't want to be alone. Some women are scared to go home until their husbands get there. Then you have some that don't want to leave their house,” Bryan said. “I have husbands coming in here telling me, ‘My wife made me put the gun beside the bed last night.’”
Mayes and his wife, Teresa, were charged Wednesday with first-degree murder in the deaths of Jo Ann Bain, 31, and her daughter, Adrienne, 14. Their bodies were found buried outside the Mayes’ home near Guntown a week after they were reported missing by Jo Ann Bain’s husband, Gary.
Mayes’ mother-in-law Josie Tate told The Associated Press that Mayes thought the missing sisters might actually be his daughters and it caused problems in his marriage to her daughter, Teresa Mayes, who is jailed in the case.
Neighbors of Mayes have been questioned and one was arrested on a warrant unrelated to the Mayes case. One neighbor turned loose his brown pit bull in an apparent effort to ward away media and onlookers stopping to get a glimpse of the home where Jo Ann Bain and her daughter were buried in the backyard.
The search area includes a mix of thick pine woods, large open fields, creeks and small lakes. Back roads crisscross the area, some of them wide enough for only one vehicle at a time. Residents say there are plenty of abandoned homes, empty trailers and small outbuildings where someone could hide.
Authorities said Mayes has changed his appearance since the mother and children were reported missing. They released surveillance video of him with short hair at a market near Guntown.
Some local residents think Mayes is still in the woods nearby because he probably has little money and no car.
Teresa Mayes told investigators that after she saw her husband kill the two in the garage at the Bain home, she drove him, the younger girls and the bodies to Mississippi, according to affidavits filed in court.
Since the manhunt began for Mayes, people who knew him and the Bains have described him as unusually close to the family and the girls. He was described as a friend of Gary Bain, and the children considered him an uncle.
Authorities said Alexandria has brown hair and hazel eyes and is 5 feet tall and 105 pounds. Kyliyah has blonde hair and brown eyes and is 4 feet tall and 57 pounds.
Reward climbs to $171K