A Kansas man was arrested and charged with first-degree murder, aggravated kidnapping, and four other charges Monday in connection with the abduction and death of a 5-year-old girl who was killed during a car chase and shootout with police.
Marcus McGowan, 30, of Atchison, Kan. is currently in a Kansas City-area hospital, where he is recovering from non-life-threatening injuries following Friday night's car chase, which progressed into Missouri and back into Kansas. Following the shootout, police discovered the body of Cadence Harris, known as Cady, in McGowan's car.
At a news conference Monday, Leavenworth Police Chief Pat Kitchens declined to discuss details of the case or declare that McGowan had fired the fatal shot.
However, "the fact that he was charged with that crime (first-degree murder), take it however you want," the chief said.
Kansas authorities said they began pursuing McGowan on Friday night after receiving a report that he had abducted a young girl from a home in Atchison, where he, the girl and her mother lived with his grandparents. Police said McGowan eluded police in Atchison. At 7:30 p.m. Platte County, Missouri, authorities notified Leavenworth, Kansas, police they were in a high-speed pursuit of a man believed to have abducted a child.
The chase ended at a construction site in Leavenworth, where police said McGowan was shot after turning a gun on officers. Cadence was found dead of a gunshot in McGowan's vehicle. On Saturday, Kitchens said it was not clear who had shot her.
Kitchens said Monday that Leavenworth County prosecutor Todd Thompson has been asked to also charge McGowan with aggravated endangering of a child, aggravated assault against a law enforcement officer, felony fleeing and eluding and criminal possession of a firearm.
The chief said he called Monday's news conference to quash rumors that McGowan was going to be released from the hospital without being charged.
Cadence's mother, Christina Harris, told reporters after the news conference that she and McGowan had been involved in an on-again, off-again relationship over five years that often was abusive.
She said the two had gotten into an argument Friday and that McGowan took the girl while Harris went across the street to call the police.
The girl, who was not McGowan's biological daughter, had been around him most of her life, Harris said.
"He loved her. He never hurt her," she said. "I had feared for my own life but never for my daughter’s. Now I’m hoping he pays for what he did to my daughter."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.