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Miss. troopers conduct roadblocks, search yard in manhunt for missing mom, daughters, suspect
GUNTOWN, Miss. (AP) ' State troopers stopped vehicles at roadblocks Monday and officers searched the yard of a home in northern Mississippi as they sought to unravel the mysterious disappearance of a Tennessee mother and her three daughters and find the family friend accused of abducting them.
Mississippi state troopers who were stopping vehicles and searching their trunks along State Route 30 near Guntown said they were conducting a manhunt for 35-year-old Adam Mayes. He's being sought in the April 27 disappearance of Jo Ann Bain and her daughters: 14-year-old Adrienne, 12-year-old Alexandria and 8-year-old Kyliyah.
Officers also searched the yard of a home near Guntown that's been linked to Mayes.
Authorities are investigating whether the disappearance of the mother and daughters is related to two bodies found late last week outside Guntown at the house police have connected to Mayes. The effort to identify the bodies continued Monday.
Mayes was last seen a week ago in Guntown, about 80 miles south of the Bain family's home in Whitesville, Tenn.
Kidnapping warrants have been issued for Mayes. The Mississippi Department of Public Safety said Saturday it believed "the children may be in extreme danger."
Jo Ann Bain and her daughters were last seen April 27 at their home outside Whiteville. Before they disappeared, the Bains had been preparing to move to Arizona.
The mother's Facebook page shows that in the days before the four disappeared she was packing and working on homework. Her last post, dated April 26, said "a good venting always makes you feel better." It didn't say why she was venting.
A web of ties connects Mayes to the missing woman and her family. They were all known around Whiteville, a town of about 4,500 people 60 miles east of Memphis. Mayes was a longtime friend of Bain's husband and had been at their home outside Whiteville the evening before they disappeared, police said.
Both Gary Bain and Mayes were once married to sisters, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Kristin Helm said.
Mayes had stayed over at the Bains' house to help the family pack and load up a U-Haul to drive across the country to Arizona, Helm said. Gary Bain, who was at the house that night, woke up to find his wife, daughters and Mayes gone.
The father didn't expect to find the girls because he woke up at a time when the daughters would typically be at school. He tried calling his wife on her cell phone throughout the day but couldn't reach her. He reported them missing when the girls didn't get off the school bus.
Helm said Gary Bain's adult daughter and granddaughter also stayed in the house that evening, but the grown daughter didn't see the girls the next morning. The car, however, was gone.
While authorities say Mayes is likely to be armed and extremely dangerous, acquaintances describe him as friendly, helpful and like an uncle to the girls.
Melvin Herron, who lives next door to the Bain family, said Mayes apparently "thought the world of those little girls." Herron, 42, recalled seeing the girls playing outside, running and going down water slides.
Gerald Long, 60, of Jackson, Tenn., said he last saw Mayes about two years ago. He said Mayes lived across the street from him for about a year with his wife, Teresa. He described Mayes as a "sociable person."
He was helpful, Long said. "He didn't seem violent or anything."
As for his relationship with his wife, Teresa, Long said "they were always up and down about things." Long would not elaborate.
The neighbor said he thought Mayes and his wife are no longer together.
The mother's aunt said she was waiting Monday for authorities to tell her that her niece and the girls are safe.
"I pray for Jo Ann and the girls to be OK and for them to come home," said Beverly Goodman, who works at Whiteville City Hall.
She said that her niece was not the type of woman to run off with someone.
"She's not the kind that would jump off and run off with some man." She described the Bains as a normal family. She said Jo Ann Bain was looking forward to moving to Arizona. She said the girls liked to play softball at a local park where a vigil is set for Tuesday.
Goodman expressed frustration that the authorities didn't issue an amber alert sooner. "What would it have hurt to put an Amber Alert out?" Goodman said. "They might have saved a couple of lives."
On Sunday, forensic scientists with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation searched the garage and backyard at the Hardeman County, Tenn., home where Bain, her husband and the three girls live.
Gary Bain declined to comment Sunday to an Associated Press reporter.
"Jo Ann and the kids, everyone loves them. We're just hoping to hear that they're safe," said Linda Kirkland, a family friend and cook at the Country Cafe in Whiteville, Tenn.
Kirkland said Sunday that the woman and her daughters were moving to Arizona because two of the girls had asthma. Other than dealing with a recent death in the family, Bain, who had frequented the restaurant, never indicated anything was wrong.
"She seemed so happy," Kirkland said.
On Friday, the TBI reported that the girls were with Mayes in Mississippi, but there was no evidence initially that a crime had been committed.
FBI spokesman Joel Siskovic said authorities talked to Mayes early on in the investigation, but he fled when they tried to contact him again. Authorities said Mayes did not appear to have a criminal record.
Police had been trying to determine whether Jo Ann Bain went with Mayes willingly.
By Friday, Mayes had a warrant on file in Hardeman County for false report stemming from information he gave investigators about the case.
Siskovic said Saturday that the bodies were found late Friday or early Saturday in a Mississippi home. He wasn't sure if the home belonged to Mayes or an acquaintance.
The Mississippi Highway Patrol issued an Amber Alert on Saturday morning for the girls, and Tennessee authorities have also issued an alert.
The FBI and U.S. Marshals Service also announced a reward of up to $50,000 for information that leads to the location of the missing victims and the arrest of Mayes.
Authorities had said over the weekend that Mayes could be in Mississippi but that he has ties to Arizona, Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida.
Authorities described Adrienne as having brown hair and eyes. She's 5 feet 4 inches tall and 129 pounds. Alexandria has brown hair and hazel eyes and is 5 feet tall and 105 pounds. Kyliyah has blond hair and brown eyes and is 4 feet tall and 57 pounds.
Mayes has brown hair and blue eyes and is 6 feet 3 inches tall and weighs 175 pounds.
However, authorities said Mayes may have cut his hair, as well as cut and dyed the girls' hair to disguise their identities.
Back in the Bains' neighborhood, neighbor Herron said he hoped the bodies found in Mississippi were not the girls or their mother.
"I'm praying to God it's not those little girls," he said.
Associated Press writers Lucas Johnson II in Nashville, Tenn., and Holbrook Mohr in Jackson, Miss., contributed to this report.