Answers sought in girl's death after abduction, chase - FOX Carolina 21

Answers sought in girl's death after abduction, chase

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Authorities are working to clear up unanswered questions that still remain nearly two days after a 5-year-old girl was killed when the man suspected of abducting her pointed his gun at police during a tense standoff.

Police started investigating a reported kidnapping in Atchison County on Friday night. Investigators tracked down their suspect, who family members have identified as 30-year-old Marcus McGowan. He has not been officially charged nor are police naming their suspect.

Multiple agencies say they chased the suspect from Kansas into Missouri and back into Kansas. Leavenworth police picked up the chase at 7:30 p.m.

Speeds reached an estimated 80 to 90 mph before coming to a halt before the suspect's white SUV crashed into construction barricades at North 20th Street and Metropolitan Avenue. There was a standoff and a shootout with police.

McGowan was wounded in the shooting, but police aren't sure if his injuries are from their gunfire or if he turned the gun on himself. He's in the hospital in serious condition.

Cadence Harris was found dead in the SUV.

Initial reports said the child died from gunshot wounds but that hasn't been confirmed as Sunday morning. Police say they're waiting on an autopsy before releasing a cause of death.

"It is a fairly complicated investigation," Kitchens said. "There is a lot of information we are trying to sort through."

At a news conference Saturday afternoon, officials said there was no evidence that the little girl or the suspect's vehicle was struck by gunfire from police.

In the days leading up to Cadence's death, she and her mother were staying with McGowan at his grandmother's house in Atchison.

"He didn't kidnap her," Norma Campbell said. "She lived here with us."

Campbell said her grandson was not the child's biological father, but he had an on-again off-again relationship with the girl's mother and was like a father to her. She said McGowan's relationship with Cadence's mother was complicated.

Campbell remembers the couple fighting Friday night. She said when Harris ran to call police, McGowan drive away with Cadence.

When asked why authorities didn't issue an Amber Alert, police said the entire incident happened so fast that there simply wasn't enough time.

Campbell said McGowan battles mental illness and that he called her just before police caught up to him saying he was tired. She believes he intended to die.

Video cameras from police patrol cars captured some of the exchange of gunfire between McGowan and two Leavenworth officers.

At one point the suspect can be seen pointing a gun toward officers. Kitchens said not everything that happened was caught on tape.

McGowan has spent time in prison, court records show, and had an active warrant for his arrest after missing an Atchison County court hearing Thursday in a domestic violence case involving Cadence's mother.

To help with Cadence's funeral expenses, her family asked that donations be made via GoFundMe or in cash at High Noon Saloon & Brewery, 206 Choctaw St., in Leavenworth. Click here to donate online.

Fundraising events and funeral information will be posted on the Angels for Cadence Facebook page as they are scheduled.

The Associate Press contributed to this report.

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