LOUISIANA, Mo. • David Maier stood over his grill Saturday, still in shock about the events of the last five days.
"I don't think it's all sunk in yet," said Maier, whose daughter, Alisa, 4, was abducted Monday and found 26 hours later in Fenton. Her abductor, Paul S. Smith, fatally shot himself Wednesday when police confronted him.
For the most part, Alisa's grandfather, Roy Harrison, has been the spokesman for the family about their ordeal.
But Saturday, Maier opened up and relived what the last week has been like for him, Alisa's mother, Kim Harrison, and their son, Blake, 6.
Maier said he was cooking dinner at the moment Monday night that Blake burst into the house and said his sister had gotten in a car with a stranger.
"Blake said he told her, 'Come here,' and then grabbed her and took off," Maier said.
Maier believes that it was not a random act. He thinks Smith, a convicted sex offender, cased the neighborhood and was aware of a blind spot on the family's property that cannot be seen from the kitchen window.
"He had to know that," Maier said. "That's the only place I can't see my kids when they're outside playing."
At Blake's declaration, Harrison jumped in a car and frantically searched the neighborhood. By the next day, hundreds of people were searching for Alisa, and her abduction became headline news around the country.
"We didn't sleep," Maier said.
They joined the community for a prayer vigil in town Tuesday afternoon.
Then, just before midnight Tuesday, a police officer showed Maier and Harrison a picture of Alisa, smiling with her hands behind her head, relaxing in a hospital bed at St. Clare Medical Center.
She had been found wandering near a car wash in Fenton.
"Are you sure that's her?" the officer asked, holding his cell phone before their widening eyes.
"Her hair has been cut, but no one has that face," Maier told him.
Within minutes, a police officer whisked Maier and Harrison to St. Louis.
"I didn't even have time to tie my shoes," Maier said.
When they arrived at St. Louis County's Fenton police precinct, child psychologists were interviewing Alisa. Maier and Harrison waited in another room for an hour before a police officer led their daughter through the door.
The couple wept over the child as she hugged them. When the embrace ended, she looked at them and asked, "Where's Blake?"
They then took her to Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital about 4 a.m. Wednesday for further evaluation.
"When we got there, I realized I hadn't tied my shoes," Maier said.
The couple spent Wednesday night at a hotel in the St. Louis area so counselors could continue to talk to Alisa about her abduction.
"They told us she didn't say anything about being molested or anything like that," Maier said, adding that doctors also didn't find any physical evidence of an assault. She also didn't talk about what happened to her during the abduction.
Wednesday evening, at the hotel, the couple learned that Smith had killed himself. St. Louis County police officers gave the family clothing and toys for Alisa during their hotel stay. She enjoyed swimming in the pool, and slept well. No nightmares. No tears. But she longed to see her brother.
Thursday afternoon, she got her wish. Blake, happy to see his sister, was a bit bothered by her new 'do.
"She's not supposed to have hair like that," he said. "She's a girl."
The next day, a salon owner here cleaned up the shoddy haircut that police believe Smith did to conceal her identity. Then Blake got a haircut.
On Saturday, brother and sister doused each other with water guns in their front yard during a barbecue that the family had originally planned for themselves.
Neighbors and other residents kept stopping by.
"It's not fair that you've had all this bad luck and now you're doing all the cooking," said Rodney Weissenfluh of Wood River, who is married to Alisa's great-aunt, as he greeted Maier at the grill.
"Everybody did all the work for me, it's my turn to do the work for them," Maier said.
Maier said he still had many unanswered questions about the week's events. He said neither he nor Harrison would ever ask their daughter those questions, unless she talked. If she decides to confide in anyone, it will be her brother, he said.
"There's a lot we'll probably never know," Maier said, as he glanced at his children during their water gun fight. "Maybe it's better that I don't."