published Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

Man charged in chase in which Kansas girl died

  • photo
    Christina Harris of Leavenworth, Kan., whose 5-year-old daughter Cadence Harris was fatally shot after a high-speed police chase, speaks with reporters on July 21, 2014, after Leavenworth Police Chief Pat Kitchens announced that the girl's alleged abductor was arrested on six charges, including first-degree felony murder.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

LEAVENWORTH, Kan. — An eastern Kansas man was charged Wednesday with first-degree murder and other felonies after an alleged abduction and police chase ended in the death of a 5-year-old girl from a gunshot wound.

Marcas McGowan, 30, of Atchison, also faces charges of aggravated assault, criminal possession of a firearm, aggravated endangering of a child and trying to elude law enforcement officers, Leavenworth County prosecutor Todd Thompson said at a news conference.

McGowan appeared in court earlier Wednesday and had the charges read to him. He had been hospitalized for wounds from Friday's confrontation but is now being held in the Leavenworth County jail. Authorities declined to discuss his injuries Wednesday.

Authorities allege McGowan abducted Cadence Harris on Friday from a home they shared with the girl's mother in Atchison. Cadence, also known as Cady, was found dead from a gunshot in McGowan's car after a police chase ended with McGowan being shot when he pointed a gun at officers, investigators said.

The case is being investigated by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, Thompson said, and he declined to discuss details of what happened during the chase and confrontation.

The chase began Friday night when police received a report that McGowan had taken the girl from her Atchison home. It continued into Platte County, Missouri, and ended at a construction site in Leavenworth, Kansas, where McGowan was shot after he allegedly pointed a gun at officers.

Leavenworth police chief Pat Kitchens said Wednesday he was "satisfied" that the investigation so far indicates his officers did not fire the shot that killed Cadence.

"I'll also reiterate what the KBI said, there's no evidence to indicate the officers were involved in the death of the girl," he said after the news conference.

Neither Leavenworth officer was injured but they are on administrative leave.

Cadence's mother, Christina Harris, told reporters Monday that she and McGowan had an on-again, off-again relationship over five years that often was abusive. She said the two argued Friday and McGowan took the girl while she went to call the police.

Cadence was not McGowan's biological daughter but he had treated her as his child, Harris said.

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