MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Nearly five years after the tragic murders of a Mid-South mother and daughter and kidnapping of two young girls, a new book offers clues about the motive behind the crimes.
The world may never know for sure why Adam Mayes destroyed the Bain family, but new interviews and newly obtained FBI files provide clues to what really happened.
In April 2012, Adam Mayes murdered Jo Ann Bain and her daughter, Adrienne, before kidnapping Adrienne's sisters, 12-year-old Alexandria and 8-year-old Kyliyah.
A massive manhunt that lasted two weeks ended when Adam Mayes shot himself in the woods after being discovered by Mississippi Wildlife Research Officers near Alpine, Mississippi.
Amelia Carlson is writing a new book about the tragic deaths of Jo Ann and Adrienne.
"I think it's something now--looking back on it--that every parent, every grandparent, and uncle, and aunt can learn from," Carlson said.
Carlson has spent the last five years investigating the case, first as a reporter for the Bolivar Bulletin-Times and now as a digital producer for WMC Action News 5. She also has a history of working with children.
"I spent five years working with the Department of Children Services," Carlson said. "So the child abuse and the child grooming probably comes quicker as a red flag to me than many people."
Carlson's book reveals Mayes often called the younger Bain sisters "his girls." He spent so much time with Alexandria and Kyliyah many people thought he actually was the girls' father.
"They went to birthday parties. They went to 4th of July celebrations," Carlson said. "They appeared to be his children, or at least, he thought of them as his children."
Carlson's book reveals one investigator considered Mayes' behavior "the worst case of child pedophile grooming" he'd ever seen.
There is nothing specific in the newly uncovered FBI files to support that investigator's claim, but much of the file was redacted before it was released.
"There are a lot of ways offenders manipulate kids over time," Beryl White of Memphis Child Advocacy Center said.
White said child predators frequently groom their victims by ingratiating themselves with their victim's family.
"A lot of times they are also manipulating the family," White said. "So when you talk about grooming, we can talk about--a lot of times offenders can be very charming people. They can be doing a lot of favors. You know, someone might be befriending your child, offering to take your child for ice cream, offering to babysit."
Among the items found with the girls after Mayes shot and killed himself in a wooded area in Union County, Mississippi, were condoms and a disturbing diary.
FBI agents referred to the diary as a "love book" during the 400 page investigative file.
The love book was a white binder containing details of wedding plans of one of the child's future marriage to Mayes.
"It gives the impression that she believed she was going to be his wife--as many have said that's what he told them," Carlson said.
Carlson said her research reveals a sad and disturbing potential motive: Adam Mayes wanted the younger Bain children for himself and spent years putting himself in position to fulfill his fantasy.
Carlson said her book is expected to be released January 2018 and she's certain how the story ends.
"We can look back on this case and we can be thankful that the two girls survived. We can grieve the loss of a mother and a daughter while at the same time saying 'How did this happen?'" Carlson said. "If we can learn from this, if we can protect another family, if we can protect another child, some mother can say 'This is weird' and 'You're not doing this.,' and we can put a stop to the next tragedy. That's where it ends."