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TODAY   |  May 11, 2012

Tenn. murder-kidnap suspect dead, girls safe

After a nearly two-week manhunt, Tennessee murder-kidnap suspect Adam Mayes died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound as a SWAT team closed in on him, allowing authorities to safely recover the two girls he was accused of kidnapping. NBC’s Thanh Truong reports.

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>> are being checked out at a hospital this morning. but appear to be physically unharmed after think were safely recovered last night.

>> that's right. it all started with a tip about a possible sighting of t girl's alleged kidnapper, adam mayes , near a church in northern mississippi. when authorities arrived they say mayes refused to surrender, pulled out a gun and then shot himself in the head. the girls were found lying on the ground nearby. we're going to go right to this story to nbc's thanh truong who is in alpine, mississippi. thanh, good morning, what can you tell us?

>> ann , good morning to you. this ordl started exactly two weeks ago when authorities say adam mayes kidnapped a mother and her three daughters. the search quickly turned into a nationwide manhunt but in the end, the law managed to track mayes down through these back woods just miles from his home. responding to a phone tip, a search team swept the woods hynde zn hillaptist church late thursday. around6:30 p.m. the game warden spotted adam mayes and the two kidnapped sister that's when mayes pulled out a gun.

>> mr. mayes was given repeated warnings to show his hands. he did not. an he then shot himself in the head.

>> reporter: 12-year-old alexandria bain and 8-year-old kyliyah, were dehydrated but unharmed and quickly rusd away to a memphis hospital as a precaution. a sheriff who first sawhem said he told themt was going to be okay and gave them a big hug.

>> we are very relieved at this event here tonight. we have two little girls that we can returno tnessee to their families.

>> reporter: the girls are the sole survivors of a twisted ordeal. two weeks ago investigators say mayes killed their mother jo ann , and her eldest daughter, 14-year-old adrienne. at the ba's home in rural tennessee. according to court doments, mayes ' wife teresa then helped kidnap the two surviving sisters and took them, along with their dead mother and sister, to mayes 'ome in misssippi. last weekend authorities discovered the victims' bod i goes in a shallow drive up behind mayes ' house.

>> we can't forget about jo ann and adrienne who did not deserve to die the way they did. and we're going to see that justice is served for them.

>> reporter: the fbi policed mayes on its top ten most wanted list and launched a nationwide search for the missing sisters. by thursday, with mayes dead, this wanted poster was updated. authorities say they suspect he'd been hiding near the church foa few days. friends and famy of mayes say he long claimed he w the biological father of the two girls, and was constantly visiting them.

>> i think he really wanted those kids to live with m.

>> reporter: mayes ' motive may never be covered, but the apparent objects of his affection, and perhaps obsession, are today free once again. mayes ' wife teresa is in jail charged with two counts of kidnapping and murde for her alleged involvement in maye mother mary is also in jail, charged with kidnapping. while many in this community are saying they'reelieved because they found the -- the wildlife and fisheries department finally found mayes . but also saying they feel like they're praye are answered now that those girls