GUNTOWN, Miss. – Heavily-armed FBI agents and authorities from Mississippi and Tennessee resumed searching woods and back roads Wednesday for what they said was a dangerous man suspected of killing a Tennessee woman and her teenage daughter and fleeing with her two younger girls.
Authorities released a surveillance video that was being aired by news media outlets early Wednesday that showed Adam Mayes, 35, at a convenience store in Union County, Miss., about three days after the alleged kidnapping. In the video, Mayes appeared calm when he approached the counter and had a fresh haircut.
Meanwhile, a community continued to mourn the slain mother and daughter and the loss of the girls.
A day earlier, authorities canvassed roads and searched tree lines near the home where Mayes lived in Union County, Miss. Authorities have been tight-lipped about the details of the search, hoping to avoid releasing information that puts the girls’ lives in jeopardy.
The FBI said Tuesday that authorities were hopeful the two young girls – Alexandra Bain, 12, and Kyliyah Bain, 8 – were still alive, but declined to say why. Investigators believed the two youngest daughters were still with Mayes, FBI spokesman Joel Siskovic said.
Authorities have said Mayes was a family friend who was staying with the Bains on April 27, the day the mother and children disappeared. Before he fled, he admitted to authorities that he was the last person to see Jo Ann Bain and her daughters before the disappearance, according to an affidavit filed with the court.
The bodies of Jo Ann Bain, 31, and Adrienne Bain, 14, were found last week behind the mobile home in northern Mississippi where Mayes lived. The affidavit provides the first clue that the victims may have been killed soon after they were abducted. It said his wife and mother saw him digging a hole in the yard on April 27 or soon after.
On Tuesday, those women were charged in connection with the abduction.
Teresa Mayes, 30, was charged with especially aggravated kidnapping and Mary Mayes, 65, was charged with conspiracy to commit kidnapping.
An attorney for Teresa Mayes, whose bond was set at $500,000, declined to comment Tuesday afternoon. Calls to the attorney assigned to Mary Mayes were not immediately returned. Her bond was set at $300,000.
An affidavit filed in court does not hint at a possible motive for their involvement.
Teresa Mayes told investigators she drove Jo Ann Bain and her daughters from Hardeman County, where they lived, to Union County, Miss., where Adam and Teresa Mayes lived with his parents, according to the affidavit.
Hundreds of adults, teens and children came from throughout west and central Tennessee and north Mississippi for a prayer vigil Tuesday evening at Bolivar Dixie Youth Park, where the two oldest Bain girls played softball.
Mourners sang songs and bowed their heads in prayer as they held red, yellow, orange and purple balloons during the ceremony. Some wept during the vigil and sniffles punctuated the quiet night during a moment of silence for Jo Ann Bain and her three daughters.
Many of the mourners said the kidnappings have shaken their small-town, tight-knit communities, from Corinth, Miss., to Whiteville, Tenn.
Stephanie Bodiford, of Middleton, Tenn., said her son was in the same class at Central High School in Bolivar as Adrienne Bain, who along with her mother was found dead in a home where suspect Adam Mayes lived in Guntown, Miss.
Bodiford said her children have been distraught in the days since the disappearance of Bain and her daughters.
“We live in such a sheltered community,” Bodiford said. “They just don’t understand. They don’t understand bad.”
Megan Ervin said she played with Adrienne Bain on the same softball team last year. She described Adrienne as a good player who enjoyed softball.
“She was real nice but she was real shy,” Ervin said.
Ervin, 16, said she and her friends have been shaken by the kidnapping and deaths.
She also said Mayes spent time at the park. He would often come see the Bain girls play, she said. Megan Ervin’s mother Pam said she also saw Mayes hanging out at the park.
“It’s just shocking. It could have been any of us, really, because he was always here and everybody saw him,” Megan said. “He was around all these kids all the time.”
She recoiled, saying, “No,” when asked if she had ever spoken with Mayes.
“When I first saw him, I kind of had a bad vibe about him, so I just kind of stayed away,” Ervin said. “But then I saw him here all the time and I figured he’s no threat to us because he’s always here. Obviously, that wasn’t true.”
Loller reported from Nashville, Tenn. Associated Press writers Lucas Johnson II in Nashville, Tenn.; and Holbrook Mohr in Jackson, Miss.; contributed to this report.