Abducted 4-year-old girl found safe at car wash

FENTON, Mo. (AP) - They're calling it another Missouri miracle -
a 4-year-old girl abducted from her front yard and found safe 70
miles away more than 24 hours later.
The FBI said witnesses late Tuesday saw what they thought was a
little boy wandering around a suburban St. Louis car wash. It
turned out to be 4-year-old Alisa Maier, abducted Monday night from
the yard of her home in Louisiana, Mo.
Alisa was taken early Wednesday to Cardinal Glennon Children's
Hospital in St. Louis for evaluation. After nearly three hours of
examinations, the little girl and her parents left about 7:30 a.m.,
hospital spokesman Bob Davidson said.
"They all looked really tired, like they'd been through a lot,
but they also looked overwhelmingly overjoyed at being reunited,"
Davidson said. "Alisa was sitting in her mother's lap in the
emergency room and her mother had her arms wrapped around Alisa
like she was never going to let her go."
Davidson declined to discuss details of the examination but said
the family asked him to thank those who helped in the search or
prayed for Alisa's return.
Police and the FBI turned their attention to finding the
abductor. Soon after Alisa went missing, her 6-year-old brother
told police a young white man in a dark-colored car had ordered
Alisa to get in.
Witnesses at the Fenton car wash where Alisa turned up reported
a similar sighting. Police were searching for a dark-colored,
four-door car, possibly a Ford Escort, seen leaving the area of the
car wash. A dark-skinned white man in his 30s was the driver.
Police believe the car either had a hole in the muffler or no
muffler at all, and it was missing the hubcaps.
Alisa's grandfather, Roy Harrison, urged the kidnapper to turn
himself in.
"I want to tell that man he's done the first step - he's let my
granddaughter go," Harrison said on NBC's Today Show. "He has to
step up and take responsibility."
Missouri was the site of another miraculous ending a little over
three years ago.
In January 2007, 13-year-old Ben Ownby was abducted after
getting off the school bus near his home in rural Franklin County.
Four days later, police made a startling discovery: Ben was alive
and being held captive in a St. Louis County apartment complex.
Even more amazing, police found Shawn Hornbeck with him. Shawn had
been missing for 4 1/2 years after being abducted while riding his
bike in another rural area.
Michael Devlin was convicted of kidnapping and abusing the boys,
and is serving several life sentences.
In the small Mississippi River town of Louisiana, Alisa and her
brother were playing in the front yard while their mom was in the
house making dinner. The boy told police a man he did not know
pulled up and ordered the girl to get in, then drove away.
A neighbor said the frantic mother called police, then took off
in a van to search for her daughter.
More than 100 volunteers joined at least five dozen police
officers in the search for Alisa. Tuesday night, several hundred
people gathered for a vigil in a park in the quiet town of about
4,000 residents.
Around the same time the vigil was breaking up, dozens of miles
away in the St. Louis County town of Fenton, witnesses noticed a
car with a noisy muffler - or no muffler at all - at a car wash in
a strip mall. Later, the witnesses thought they were seeing a boy
wandering around the car wash, but it was Alisa.
For now, her family is ecstatic to have her back.
"They were just so happy, hardly any words were spoken"
Harrison said of the family seeing Alisa for the first time.
"There was a lot of smiling."

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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