It was a break in the case that investigators had been hoping for. The search for Adam Mayes took them to a wooded area in Guntown, Miss., where there was a deadly encounter.
A SWAT team corralled the 35-year-old Mayes. As the FBI task force moved in, Mayes turned his gun on himself.
To the relief of rescuers, the girls he kidnapped, 8-year-old Kyliyah and 12-year-old Alexandria, were found safe nearby.
Investigators say Mayes had been fixated on the girls, who he claimed were his. It was 13 days ago that Mayes and his wife, Teresa, allegedly went to the family's home, murdered the girls' mother and older sister, then loaded the bodies and the girls in his vehicle.
On the run, from Tennessee to northern Mississippi, the bodies were found in a shallow grave on Saturday.
Detectives say Mayes' wife confessed to the killing. But Mayes mother-in-law says her daughter was mentally handicapped and abused by Mayes.
"And these were her exact words, 'Tired of getting slammed against the walls, knocked around and beat on," said mother-in-law Josie Tate.
Mayes had been a friend of the girls' family. His motives for allegedly abducting them remained unclear Thursday.
The girls were in a hospital Thursday night following the standoff. It appeared they had been living in the woods and were dehydrated when they were found. They physically appeared OK, but certainly traumatized from their ordeal.