Authorities have found a missing 4-year-old Missouri girl and are searching for a mysterious dark-colored car with a loud muffler that may be connected to the case, police said early Wednesday.
Alisa Maier, whose disappearance prompted an Amber Alert, was found in Fenton, Missouri, about 10:15 p.m. Tuesday (11:15 p.m. ET) at a car wash and taken to a hospital, the St. Louis County police department said.
Witnesses said they first saw and heard a dark-colored car, maybe black or brown, with an extremely loud muffler at the car wash. Then they saw the a child walking in the area that they first mistook as a boy, said St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch.
“We have reason to believe she was associated with the car at the car wash,” said Fitch.
The witnesses called police who came to area and realized that the child was Maier, Fitch said.
Alisa was snatched from the front yard of her home in Louisiana, Missouri, on Monday evening while she was playing with her brother, police there said.
Anita McKlevis, who lives across the street from the family, said Alisa’s mother was “just beside herself” and tried to pursue the man who abducted the girl.
“She jumped up and went across the street, got into her van and took off,” McKlevis told HLN’s “Issues with Jane Velez-Mitchell.”
She said the children were regularly supervised by parents or grandparents while playing outside: “I never seen this little girl without her parents,” McKlevis added.
Louisiana is about 80 miles north of St. Louis.
Michael Kaste, an agent from the FBI’s St. Louis office, said between 75 and 100 law enforcement officers — including about 30 FBI agents — and about 50 volunteers took part in the search. Investigators also questioned known sex offenders about the girl’s abduction, he said.
Earlier, police Chief Richard Hughes of Louisiana — about 80 miles north of St. Louis — said his investigators had no indication that her kidnapping was anything other than a random abduction.
The town of about 4,000 is located just across the Mississippi River from Illinois.
CNN’s Scott Thompson contributed to this report.