Those who know the young victim and the man who is accused of kidnapping her are in shock after hearing about the events of Friday night that resulted in the death of the 5-year-old girl.
Cadence Harris was killed sometime between when she was abducted by 30-year-old Marcus McGowan and when he pointed his gun at police during a tense standoff at 20th and Metropolitan in Leavenworth, sources tell KCTV5.
Cadence and McGowan knew each other, but authorities haven't discussed their relationship. Family members have said that McGowan was dating Cadence's mother and that they had lived together with McGowan's family in Atchison.
Cadence's family members showed their love of the little girl on Facebook.
"I'm at loss for words and I don't even know what to say or think right now. She was such a sweet little angel. I keep playing over and over in my head that sweet little voice ‘my name is Cadence Justine Harris' and that beautiful little smile. I remember babysitting her, living with her and all of the memories in between. I can't believe you're gone, it was too soon. I keep asking why... I don't understand, I just don't get it. Heaven gained one of the most precious angels it could possibly have. I love you so much Cady, you will be forever in my heart. RIP baby girl, I'm so sorry," wrote Cara Lynn Davis.
Meanwhile, those that know McGowan are also dealing with a growing number of questions. Growing up in Atchison, KS, Ricky Lee knew McGowan since they were youngsters.
"I played football with him. He was an alright guy. I've never seen him act like this before," Lee said.
When Lee learned McGowan could be connected to the horrible crime, he was in shock.
"It was a complete mind blow," he said.
Andree McGowan, Marcus' brother, says he doesn't know how to feel.
"I'm having emotions. I'm up and down like a roller coaster," he said. "Nobody knows how important it is to be a family member until tragedy happens. It's sad, but that's just how it goes."
Lee remembers Marcus McGowan as a guy who liked to party, but said he was not one prone to violence.
"From what I know, he was an alright guy. I got along with him. I got along with his brothers," he said.
Lee also moved into a rental property in Atchison after McGowan moved out.
"Me and his brothers hung out all the time. I just couldn't believe it. It was a complete shock."
Andree McGowan said Christina Harris is Cadence's mother and, although Marcus McGowan wasn't her father, Andree said his older brother treated the little girl as if she were his.
"It's been some good times and been some bad," Andree McGowan said.
He said Cadence was one of the few good things in his brother's life. He claims Marcus McGowan has had a hard time finding his way in life.
"I just wish he had found something in life he enjoyed doing. That would have helped propel him into doing something positive," Andree McGowan said.
Now that family is trying to cope with an unimaginable tragedy.
"It's testing our togetherness. It's testing our will to stay together. Is it going to break us up or make us stronger?" Andree McGowan said.
The brother said he'll be there to offer support no matter how the expected charges against Marcus McGowan are resolved.
KCTV5's Chris Oberholtz contributed to this report.
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