Man kidnaps woman, daughter before leading police on more than 100 mile pursuit

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EAST ST. LOUIS – Two people are dead and another is critically wounded, after a kidnapping in Jefferson City and pursuit that ran through St. Louis and ended in Bond County, IL, police said.

Leslie Austin, 39, of Jefferson City was behind the more than 170-mile trail of terror police said.

Police gave this account:  Austin kidnapped his girlfriend, Danielle Smith, 33, of Jefferson City,  and their 10-year-old daughter at a Jefferson City apartment complex around 7:30 Tuesday night; Austin shot Smith at that scene; Franklin County authorities later spotted Austin’s 2017, blue, Mitsubishi SUV near Union, MO;  Austin headed east on Interstate 44 through downtown St. Louis, across the Poplar Street Bridge into Illinois; Smith and the girl escaped after police used “stop sticks” to flattened Austin’s tires along Illinois Highway 140 and slowed down Austin’s SUV; Austin then shot and killed Gregory Price, 67, of Florissant, MO, during an attempted carjacking; Price reportedly had been playing cards with friend in the area; moments later, the close to 170 mile run of terror came to an end.

“The suspect continued to flee down to a dead end (Old Nebo Road near Terrapin Ridge).  The suspect exited the vehicle and continued to fire shots.  Officers returned shots.  The suspect was ultimately found to be deceased,” said Captain Timothy Tyler of the Illinois State Police.

An autopsy should determine whether a police bullet or self-inflicted shot killed Austin, Tyler said.

Police are hopeful Smith is going to survive.

She was in critical condition with multiple gunshot wounds, Wednesday.

Her daughter was not physically hurt and staying with relatives, police said.

Austin also shot a Fairmont City Police vehicle during the pursuit but the officer was not hurt, police said.

Court records showed Austin had a history of domestic abuse and that Smith was recently granted a full order of protection against him.

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