Louisiana, Missouri: One year after the Alisa Maier abduction

Alisa Maier with her grandfather at her welcome home party in July of 2010.

UPDATED: 6:45 p.m. July 5, 2011

A 4-year-old Louisiana, Missouri girl was abducted from her home a year ago Tuesday night.

Alisa Maier was found a little more than 48 hours later at a St. Louis-area car wash.

The man accused of the crime ended up killing himself.

KHQA's Rajah Maples spoke with Louisiana's mayor and police chief this afternoon about whether there are any new developments in the case and what they learned.

Louisiana Police Chief Rich Hughes said his department wouldn't have done anything differently if he could turn back the clock. He said he just completed a seminar with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children in Alexandria, Virginia. He said everything his department did the day Alisa went missing mirrored the center's recommended checklist.

There were rumors that Paul Smith, the accused abductor, had attended high school in Louisiana, Missouri and thus, knew the area very well. But Chief Hughes told KHQA those rumors were never confirmed.

Hughes said, "There were some residents who said they recalled him being here. But I believe it might have been a period of one year. I'm not sure. There were only a few who could relay that information. It wasn't pertinent to the investigation, but it did provide us a reason why he was familiar with our community."

KHQA spoke with Alisa's father, David, last November.

David Maier said, "She's normal to me. She acts the same way she did before she was picked up, just maybe a little more shy, which is understandable. I don't think it's affected her any."

Mayor Tom Wallace said the Alisa Maier case should serve as a reminder about what can happen anywhere at any time.

Mayor Wallace said, "My only suggestion is that the parents be attentive of their children when they're outside the house."

KHQA talked with Chief Hughes about the online threat of child predators.

He says the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has an internet safety resource to keep your child safe.

It's called NetSmartz, and it uses the latest technology to create high-impact educational activities for tech-savvy kids of any age group.


Tuesday marks the one year anniversary since the then 4-year-old Alisa Maier went missing.Maier was playing in her front yard with her brother when her suspected kidnapper, Paul Smith, a registered sex offender, drove up in a black 4-door passenger car and took her from the yard. Her brother was left as the only witness. Her parents were inside the house at the time of the abduction. A city-wide search brought on more than 100 volunteers from across the state.

Twenty-six hours later, Maier was found alive at a Fenton, Missouri car wash by two bystanders. She was safely returned to her parents in Louisiana.The man suspected of kidnapping her killed himself a day after Maier was found as police were closing in on him at his Hawk Point, Missouri home.

Tuesday night on KHQA's Evening News at 6, we'll talk with Louisiana's mayor and police chief one year later.