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Suspect in Tennessee kidnap-murders previously investigated for sexual abuse

The family of two sisters kidnapped by a relative who murdered their mother are relieved that the man did not harm them before he took his own life as police cornered him in the woods of Mississippi. NBC's Thanh Truong reports.

Updated at 6:45 p.m. ET: Adam Mayes, the man suspected of killing a Tennessee woman and her daughter and kidnapping her two younger daughters, was investigated in 2010 for child sexual abuse, police records show.


NBC station WMC-TV of Memphis, Tenn., and Reuters contributed to this report by M. Alex Johnson of msnbc.com. Follow M. Alex Johnson on Twitter and Facebook.


Mayes, 35, shot himself when he was found Thursday night after being on the run with Alexandria Bain, 12, and her sister Kyliyah, 8, for nearly two weeks. The girls' mother, Jo Ann, 35, and older sister, Adrienne, 14, were found dead in the back yard of Mayes' home in New Albany, Miss.


In the police report, obtained by NBC station WMC-TV of Memphis, Tenn., someone reported that Mayes was babysitting a 7-year-old girl when a family member walked in on them in the bathroom. The report said that Mayes and the young girl were naked and that he was shaving her legs.

The complainant also said Mayes had a stash of child pornography in his bedroom. A U.S. Postal Inspection Service investigation found no evidence that Mayes had received child pornography in the mail, and the allegation was ultimately declared unfounded, WMC reported.

After a two-week manhunt, Adam Mayes died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound as a SWAT team closed in on him, allowing authorities to safely recover the two girls he was accused of kidnapping. NBC's Thanh Truong reports.

Mayes claimed that his sister made up the accusations because she was angry at him and his wife, Teresa, for kicking her out of their house a few months previously.

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Mayes shot himself in the head as a SWAT team closed in on him Thursday evening. Authorities safely recovered the two younger Bain sisters, who said they had been without food or water for three days, law enforcement officials said at a briefing Friday afternoon. They were returned to their father Friday.

Mississippi Department of Public

Clockwise from top left: Jo Ann Bain and her daughters, Adrienne, 14, Kyliyah 8, and Alexandria,12.

Mayes said nothing before pulling the trigger, they said.

Teresa Mayes was charged this week with two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of "especially aggravated kidnapping." Adam Mayes' mother, Mary, was  charged with four counts of intent to commit especially aggravated kidnapping.

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant said there could be more arrests, citing what he said was evidence that Mayes might have had help at some point. Later Friday, authorities told Reuters that four of Mayes' neighbors had also been taken into custody. 

Police didn't say how the four  people — including a husband and wife and the adult son of the husband — were linked to the  case. The couple were arrested for possessing a weapon, and the son had been wanted previously by Mississippi authorities.

In an interview Friday on NBC's TODAY, Josephine Tate, Mayes' mother-in-law, said Mayes had abused her daughter for as long as 11 years. 

"I know that she was scared of Adam. I know that she was coerced and manipulated and forced to do the things that she did," Tate told NBC News' Savannah Guthrie.

Josephine Tate, Adam Mayes' mother-in-law, tells TODAY's Savannah Guthrie what may have driven him to kill a woman and a teenager and kidnap two young girls.

Tate said Mayes believed the two younger girls were his daughters, even though "they were not his children."

Union County Sheriff Jimmy Edwards confirmed at Friday's briefing that there was no evidence of that.

"I don't know what was going on in his mind, why he was thinking that," Edwards said. "But I don't believe there's any evidence to back that up."