Kidnapped girl dead after Kansas shootout between police, suspect

July 19 (Reuters) - A 5-year-old Kansas girl who was kidnapped on Friday night, died amid a gun battle between police and the abductor following a high-speed chase, police said on Saturday.

"The matter unfolded quite rapidly," said Leavenworth Police Chief Patrick Kitchens," who called the girl's death tragic. "We are still trying to sort out specifically what happened."

Police said the sequence of events began about 7:30 p.m. Friday night when Cadence Harris of Leavenworth was reported kidnapped. Police said there was some relationship between the young girl and her abductor but would not provide details.

Police in both Missouri and Kansas were involved in the chase as the suspect crossed the state line before the incident ended in the northeast Kansas town of Leavenworth. At some point the suspect exited his vehicle and pointed a gun at officers and they exchanged fire, Kitchens said.

It was not clear if the abductor shot the girl or if she was hit by police gunfire in the exchange, he said.

The suspect was seriously wounded and is hospitalized in Kansas City, he said.

The Kansas Bureau of Investigation has been called in to help investigate the matter.

"Anytime we have the loss of a small child it is devastating," Kitchens said at a press conference.

(Reporting By Carey Gillam in Kansas City; Editing by Bernard Orr)