The two young girls were on their stomachs. From where they lay, they could see Adam Mayes, the man who took them from their home in Tennessee two weeks prior and who now had them hiding in the Mississippi woods.
State officers approached.
Mayes was charged with the killings of the girls' mother and older sister. The end of a days-long manhunt seemed within reach. The motive for the kidnappings might be explained.
But as the officers drew nearer, Mayes pulled out a gun and shot himself in the head. The girls watched.
New details revealed Friday by the FBI recounted the rescue of Alexandria Bain, 12, and Kyliyah Bain, 8.
When investigators came upon Mayes, "the girls were on their stomach face-down. They were close enough to see what was going on when he killed himself," FBI spokesman Jason Pack said.
Afterward, the girls were tended to by two female agents who rode with them in an ambulance to a hospital.
"They were scared and relieved," Pack said. "They were hungry and thirsty. They gave them water, and we drove them out right away."
A tip to the FBI led officers to the area.
The tip was not that someone had spotted Mayes, but that there was an old log cabin behind a church that might be a good hiding place.
The area had been searched before by agents, but it was searched again.
There is no evidence that Mayes and the girls actually used the cabin, but they were believed to have been in the area for a few days, Pack said.
"There was no shelter or anything. It looks like they were in the open woods," he said. "They were dehydrated and dirty, like they were here for several days."
Mayes, 35, was accused of abducting Alexandria and Kyliyah from their Whiteville, Tennessee, home, in late April, and killing Jo Ann Bain and her eldest daughter, Adrienne, 14.
Officers with the Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol and state Department of Fisheries, Wildlife and Parks rescued Alexandria and Kyliyah, the FBI said.
Meanwhile, three additional arrests were made in connection with the case, a law enforcement source told CNN. One person was arrested for making a false statement, and two others for illegal possession of a firearm, the source said.
The identities of the individuals were not immediately known, but it included the person who provided Mayes the gun he used to shoot himself, the source said.
Alexandria and Kyliyah were released overnight from Le Bonheur Children's Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, hospital spokeswoman Sara Burnett said.
"They were released in the middle of the night, somewhere between 2 and 5 a.m.," Burnett said.
Burnett did not know to whom the children were released.
The FBI on Wednesday put Mayes on its list of 10 most wanted fugitives.
Mayes and his wife, Teresa, had been charged with two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of especially aggravated kidnapping. He faced an additional count of making a false report, according to arrest affidavits filed in Tennessee.
Adam Mayes' mother-in-law told HLN's Nancy Grace on Thursday that he may have believed he was the father of the two girls he was accused of abducting.
"He believes they are his children," Josie Tate told Grace.
Police said Teresa Mayes told them she was in the Bains' garage when Adam Mayes killed Jo Ann and Adrienne Bain. According to the law enforcement source, the two were strangled.
Teresa Mayes' attorney, Shana Johnson, said Thursday that her client last saw Mayes and the Bain girls in Mississippi on April 27.
The Mayes and Bain families are connected through Adam Mayes' sister Pamela, who used to be married to Jo Ann's husband, Gary Bain, the lawyer said.
In affidavits, investigators said the Mayeses drove the bodies of Jo Ann and Adrienne Bain to Union County in northern Mississippi, where they were discovered Saturday in a shallow grave behind the house of Adam Mayes' mother in Guntown.
Bobbi Booth, Mayes' sister-in-law, told CNN's Anderson Cooper on Thursday night that she's "overwhelmed right now."
"All I'm (thinking) about now is that the children are safe," Booth said. "Thank you, God, for letting those children come home."
Booth described Adam Mayes as "aggressive, abusive, crazy obviously."
But Booth said she never had an inkling Mayes would be accused of kidnapping and murder.
"I never dreamed that he would do this," she said.
CNN's Rich Phillips and Joe Sutton, and HLN's Natisha Lance, Mike Brooks and Josey Crews contributed to this report.