I-Team: Missouri Department of Corrections failure, Part 3

11:01 PM, Nov 10, 2010   |    comments
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Alisa Maier.

By Leisa Zigman, I-Team Reporter

St. Louis, MO (KSDK) -- For the past two nights, NewsChannel 5's I-Team has exposed serious questions about Missouri's Board of Probation and Parole and its failure to protect the public from sex offender Paul Smith. In the third part of our series, Smith's final victims react to our findings.

Part 1: Missouri Department of Corrections procedures failed to protect Alisa Maier
Part 2: Gov. Nixon supports parole board's closed door policy

Recently, the I-Team went back to Louisiana, Missouri to spend the day with four-year-old kidnapping survivor Alisa Maier.  Her giant brown eyes and contagious smile are big enough to melt your heart.  Alisa scampered about her house and smiled for the television cameras. She seemed like a typical four-year-old.

But what she experienced this summer is anything but typical.

When sex offender Paul Smith snatched her from her front yard, he held her for 26 hours and cut her hair so she looked like a boy. A nationwide amber alert turned up the heat and authorities started closing in. Smith released Alisa outside of a carwash in Fenton. Hours later, Paul Smith put a bullet in his head.

"Alisa is doing great! She just seems like it never even happened," said David Maier, Alisa's father. "As you can see, she's full of spirits and she's happy."

People still send the family gifts. And on the day we were there, crocheted Christmas stockings arrived.
Maier said he still has sleepless nights questioning why Missouri's Department of Corrections never referred Smith to the sexually violent predator's unit for possible civil commitment.

"I'm angry with the system," Maier said. "He should have never been out of jail. He should have been locked away."

The department failed to refer Smith not once, but three times.

"I blame the prison society, the legislation, whoever makes these laws and whoever puts these guys in there and then lets them go. That is who is at fault," Maier said.

Two days before Smith Kidnapped Alisa, police said he murdered Hawk Point businessman Jeff Smith. His widow feared breaking down on camera and did not want to do an interview, but she wrote NewsChannel 5 the following note:

"...My husband was murdered due to those who let Paul Smith out and those who didn't put him back in prison when they had the chance...Nothing can bring Jeff back...But because of this my 12-year-old son doesn't have a dad and I have to raise him alone...it makes you wonder if the people responsible would have changed their minds if it was their child that monster hurt... "

Authorities believe Smith had an accomplice and a reward of $15,000 is being offered for any information leading to an arrest.

Before any prisoner is released, Missouri law requires that all offenders who commit a sexually violent crime be reviewed for possible civil commitment proceedings.

Three times, the department of corrections decided not to recommend Smith for review.


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