Read more: Officials tie up loose ends over Mayes reward
ALPINE - A contrasting picture emerged Monday of suspected murderer and kidnapper Adam Mayes, who killed himself Thursday after a week-long manhunt that briefly made him the most wanted fugitive in America.
According to the family friends who own the home Mayes and his wife and parents had rented, the 35-year-old doted on the girls he later kidnapped and considered at least one, if not both of them, to be his biological children.
Mayes and his wif,e Teresa, "would bring the girls down here and just smother them, take them shopping, take them to the Buffalo Park in Tupelo," said Mary "Polly" Patterson, who became close with the Mayes family after they moved into the trailer she owns with her brother, Danny Johnson, about two years ago.
The visits lasted days or weeks at time, they said. And few if any included the girls' mother or adoptive father, who lived about two hours north in Whiteville, Tenn.
Mayes believed 12-year-old Alexandria Bain was his biological child and introduced her as such, both Patterson and Johnson said. He also thought 8-year-old Kyliyah might have been his, too, they said.
He didn't feel the same way about the girls' sister, 14-year-old Adrienne Bain, Johnson said, "but he'd go watch her (softball) games just as much as he would Alex's."
According to a criminal affidavit filed in Hardeman County, Tenn., Mayes killed Adrienne and her mother, Jo Ann Bain, sometime on April 27 in the garage adjacent to the family's Whiteville, Tenn., home.
Mayes' wife, Teresa, then drove the bodies and the two younger girls back to the Alpine community, and Adam Mayes buried the corpses in a shallow grave behind the house.
Four days later, Mayes fled with the two younger girls. All were found Thursday in a densely wooded area about 2 miles from the house; Mayes shot and killed himself and the girls were rescued unharmed.
Despite allegations from Teresa Mayes' sister, Bobbi Booth, that Adam Mayes abused drugs and alcohol, Johnson and Patterson said they never saw evidence of such behavior.
"I never saw him drink, and I never saw him take drugs," Patterson said. "He was always nice. He was always just good as gold."
Indeed, a tour of the double-wide trailer Mayes called home revealed no sign of drugs or alcohol, either in the main living area or in Mayes' room. Instead, his bedroom boasted numerous photographs of all three Bain girls, as well as hand-painted ceramic unicorns, stickers, coloring books, a rocking horse and a dorm refrigerator upon which someone had scribbled in blue marker several hearts and the words, "Teresa + Adam + Alex + A.J. + Kyli rock."
Other photos of the girls decorated a dresser in Mayes' bedroom closet, and even more were found in the living room, kitchen and back bedrooms where Mayes' wife and parents stayed.
A makeshift growth chart inked onto the bedroom door frame showed Alexandria's most recent measurements: 4'10" on July 31, 2011; 5'0" on April 14, 2012.
Pictures also showed Mayes throughout his life - as a chubby kid, an overweight teenager and later a slender man.
Johnson said Mayes told him he'd reached 325 pounds before suffering a heart attack in his late 20s. The incident scared him, and he dropped weight but maintained a steady diet of what Johnson called "junk food" - hamburgers, pizza and Monster energy drinks.
Though he never held a steady job, Mayes often helped Johnson at his automotive repair business, located within sight of Mayes' home. He was good with tools and pleasant to talk to, Johnson said. He never spoke ill of anybody and often sought advice from his landlord, friend and part-time boss.
The most recent encounter between the two happened the evening of April 30. Johnson sat atop his tractor on the edge of the property Mayes and his family rented. The two chatted casually about nothing in particular. Behind them sat the shallow grave containing the bodies of Jo Ann Bain and her teenage daughter.
"That day I talked to him," Johnson said, "he told me they all went missing and said he didn't know anything about it."
The next day, Mayes had fled into the woods. Three days after that, his wife and mother paid the family's $400 per month rent and chatted with Johnson's wife about the case.
"We all thought Adam had run off with that woman and those kids," he said. "My wife even asked Teresa and Mary when they paid the rent if that were true. And they said, 'Yeah, that's probably what happened,' all the while knowing they were buried in the back yard."
Patterson and Johnson said they're still shocked at the turn of events and believe Adam Mayes never intended to kill anyone. They said he might have tried to get the two younger girls from their mother and then killed her and Adrienne when she refused.
"Something happened," Patterson said. "He snapped or something. He just wasn't like this."