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      Person of interest in Mo. girl's abduction dies

      Paul S. Smith of Hawk Point, Mo. / KMOV file photo

      UPDATE: July 8 at 1:49 p.m.

      Police say the man who shot himself as officers approached him about the disappearance of 4-year-old Alisa Meier was almost certainly the man who abducted her. Authorities on Thursday said 38-year-old Paul S. Smith of Hawk Point, Mo., was the suspect in the case. He died late Wednesday at a St. Charles hospital. Smith was a convicted sex offender. Police tracked him down after noticing new clothes Alisa was wearing after she was recovered. Officers determined those clothes came from a Wal-Mart store in Troy and surveillance video from the store pointed them to Smith. Alisa was snatched from the front yard of her Louisiana, Mo., home Monday night and was found Tuesday night after she had been dropped off at a car wash about 70 miles away.


      HAWK POINT- The prime suspect in the abduction of a Louisiana, Mo., girl is dead, the Missouri Highway Patrol said Thursday morning.

      The suspect shot himself in the head when authorities closed in Wednesday afternoon, a day after the little girl was found alive in a St. Louis County strip mall parking lot.

      Cpl. Jeff Wilson of the Missouri Highway Patrol said the man died at 10:30 p.m. Wednesday at St. Joseph's Hospital in St. Charles.

      The patrol didn't confirm the man's death until Thursday morning. Information from the St. Louis Post Dispatch