Kansas Community Mourns Death of 5-Year-Old Girl

Published 07/21 2014 04:50PM

Updated 07/22 2014 11:57AM

(Leavenworth, Ks.) A Kansas community is mourning the death of a 5-year-old girl who was kidnapped and then shot and killed.

Police say Cadence Harris was abducted by 30-year-old Marcus McGowan from Atchison, Kansas Friday night.

Authorities say McGowan led them on a high speed chase through Kansas and back before crashing in Leavenworth.

He then had a brief shootout with police.

When it was over the girl was found dead in the car.

At this point in the investigation, police say it does not appear that Harris was struck by police gunfire.

Days after her death, many in the community say they're still torn apart.

"I think it's devastating and sometimes you don't know who you can trust and you just have to be aware. I know she was just a defenseless little girl," said Atchison resident Tricia Regan.

Those who knew McGowan say they're also in shock about what unfolded Friday night.

"He loved her as his own," said Shawneece Mays, who grew up with McGowan. "I don't understand why he did it"

Dorfeez Taylor, who also knows McGowan, says he was only a few blocks away from where the shooting happened.

He says he remembers hearing gunshots and was devastated when he later learned who was killed.

"Don't no kid deserve that. To have to bury your daughter that's probably hard to swallow," Taylor said.

Following Harris' death, those who live nearby say it makes them want to hold their kids a little tighter.

"I just think it's a tragic situation for both families and it's very sad and I think everyone needs to hug their kids closer because you just never know what can happen," said Regan.

Leavenworth police formally arrested McGowan Monday in connection to Harris' death.

He faces a list of charges including: 1st degree murder, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated endangering a child, aggravated assault against a law enforcement officer, felony fleeing and criminal possession of a firearm.

McGowan is still in the hospital recovering from injures he suffered in the gun fight with police.

Meanwhile, Harris' family has set up a memorial fund to help pay for funeral expenses.

Donations are also being accepted at High Noon Saloon & Brewery at 206 Choctaw Street in Leavenworth.

Copyright 2016 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.