In the aftermath of the recovery of Alexandria Bain and Kyliyah Bain, authorities are now releasing information about the details that led them to the girls and their kidnapper, Adam Mayes.
In a press conference held by the Mississippi Highway Patrol, Master Sgt. Steve Crawford explained how days of searching for the Bain sisters and Adam Mayes, who killed their mother and sister, led them to a red-brick church perched on a hill.
According to the associated press, Specially trained officers had come up empty-handed for days but were following another lead Thursday evening after Adam Mayes was put on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted List.
After following dozens of tips and turning up empty handed, one tip in fact led officers to the woods near Zion Hill Baptist Church, just a couple of miles from Mayes' rented mobile home in Guntown, where 31-year-old Jo Ann Bain and her 14-year-old daughter, Adrienne, had been buried in a shallow grave.
In the press conference, Master Sgt. Steve Crawford says that they had searched the church and eventually split up -- a move that led them down two old logging roads leading deep into the forest. After trekking about 60 yards down, the Mississippi Highway Patrol Master Sgt. saw a little girl's head in the dirt. Within inches, he viewed another child. A few more inches over was the elusive murderer Adam Mayes.
Let's see your hands, the officers shouted, according to Crawford.
According to Sgt. Crawford, Mayes pushed himself up to his knees, pulled out a 9mm pistol and shot himself in the head.
We ordered Mr. Hayes [sic] to drop the weapon numerous times, Mr. Hayes [sic] raised to his knees, never brandished the gun towards towards any of us or the children. At that time he took his life, Crawford said.
Twelve-year-old Alexandria Bain and 8-year-old Kyliyah sat up, subdued, within reach of Mayes' body. Crawford said they didn't cry, instead looking almost relieved.
They had been several days without food and water, so I believe they were very relieved, Crawford said.
Lt. Lee Ellington, part of a team from the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, even said that he heard Alexandria Bain tell Kyliyah Bain, Now we can go home.
The girls had not been home since April 27, when Mayes, a friend they considered an uncle, killed Jo Ann and Adrienne Bain in the garage of their home in Whiteville, Tenn., according to police.
Mayes, a friend of Jo Ann's husband, Gary, had reportedly gone to the house the night before to help the family pack for a move to Arizona.
Instead, police say he killed the mother and daughter, packed their corpses into a car, grabbed the younger girls and headed south with his wife to the mobile home in Guntown.
Authorities have not said how they were killed or what time it may have happened.
According to police, Gary Bain says that his wife and daughters were asleep when he went to bed at midnight. But when he woke the next morning, they were gone. Bain had figured that the girls went to school and Jo Ann had gone somewhere, too. But she didn't answer her phone that day, and the girls never got off the school bus that afternoon.
Bain called the Hardeman County Sherriff's Office at 8 p.m. to report the family members missing. In an interview with police, Mayes admited to investigators on April 29 that he was the last one to see Jo Ann and the girls, but police said they had no evidence of a crime. And it first, it wasn't known if Jo Ann had willingly left and taken the kids with her.
On April 30, Jo Ann Bain's SUV was discovered abandoned on a country road in Tennessee. That same day, Adam Mayes was seen at a market in Mississippi with his standard long hair chopped off.
He told another customer it will be cooler in the hot, brutal Southern summer. As a result, investigators would later warn he may have cut the girls' hair to disguise them, too.
Two days later, Hardeman County Sheriff John Doolen said that Mayes is a person of interest in the case but that there are no signs of foul play -- not yet.
On May 4, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation issued an endangered child alert, pleading for the public's help in finding the family.
According to police documents obtained by the Associated Press, Mayes' wife, Teresa admitted her involvement around the same time.
The documents indicate that Teresa Mayes told investigators she saw Adam Mayes kill the mother and daughter in the garage of their home so he could abduct the younger children.
Their bodies were loaded into a car, along with Adam Mayes, Alexandria and Kyliyah, and Teresa Mayes drove everyone some two hours to the mobile home in Guntown.
Teresa Mayes also told authorities she saw her husband digging a hole in the backyard.
On May 5, the Mississippi Highway Patrol issued an amber alert for the children in that state, warning that Mayes is armed and dangerous. That same day, investigators said two bodies are found buried in the Mayes' backyard. They were badly decomposed and are not identified as Jo Ann and Adrienne Bain until two days later.
By May 8, Adam Mayes' wife and his mother have been brought in on charges of helping with the crimes, but there was still no trace of the two sisters.
According to the AP, the girls told their rescuers they had gone three days without any food or water - a fact that indicates the time frame in which they had been hiding out in the woods.
Some investigators believe they were in the woods even longer before being found late Thursday, exhausted, dehydrated and itching with poison ivy, according to the AP.
The Associated Press goes on to report that Alexandria and Kyliyah Bain's kidnapping came to an abrupt end, just a few miles from where their mother and sister had been buried. They were given water, whisked away in an ambulance, and brought to immediate safety.