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Missing NY Girl Paislee Shultis, Who Disappeared In 2019, Is Found Alive Hiding In Secret Crawl Space Under Stairs
Police said detectives found Paislee Shultis after receiving a tip that she had been staying at the home of her grandfather.
More than two years after 4-year-old Paislee Shultis disappeared, she was found alive in a “cold and wet” hiding space under a staircase at her grandfather’s home, authorities say.
Saugerties Police found the now 6-year-old girl hiding with her mother, Kimberly Cooper Shultis, 33, under some stair boards around 8 p.m. on Monday after investigators got a tip that the missing girl could be living in the home, according to a statement from police.
While searching the home, Det. Erik Thiele “noticed something about the staircase leading to the back of the residence into the basement of the house that caught his attention” and used a flashlight to inspect the staircase, finding what appeared to be a blanket through the cracks, police said, according to The Daily Freeman.
After removing several of the steps, detectives “saw a pair of tiny feet” and discovered the young girl and mom after removing some additional steps from the staircase, police said.
Paislee was reported missing from Spencer, New York in 2019 after investigators believe the young girl was abducted by her non-custodial parents, Kimberly Cooper Shultis and Kirk Shultis Jr.
Saugerties Police Chief Joseph Sinagra told local station WCBS-TV that the couple allegedly took off with their youngest child after losing custody of Paislee and her older sister.
“We believe what happened after that point was that somebody informed the parents that the older child had been picked up by the legal guardian and by county officials at the time and that caused the parents then to take Paislee and flee,” police said.
Kirk later resurfaced, but police said he claimed in repeated interviews that “he had no knowledge as to where the girl was,” telling officers that “he had not seen the child since she was reported missing in 2019.”
Police had searched the home looking for the child in the past, but authorities now believe she had been tucked away within the hidden compartment whenever investigators went inside the home.
“It was pretty dingy. It was cold. There was blankets that were laying on the ground, on the concrete floor. They were completely soaked, extremely heavy,” Sinagra said of the hiding space.
Police turned to the home this week after receiving a tip that the girl was living on the property.
Sinagra told the local paper that after being examined by paramedics, it was determined that Paislee was “well taken care of and in good health,” but had not been going to school since she disappeared.
“They weren’t educating her at the house,” he said.
Authorities also found a bedroom seemingly belonging to the 6-year-old that even had the name “Paislee” on the wall, but her father had initially told investigators that the room had been created so that if she was ever found she’d have a room at the home.
Paislee was later reunited with her legal guardian and older sister.
Kimberly Shultis, Kirk Shultis Jr. and Paislee’s grandfather, Kirk Shultis were all arrested and taken into custody. Kimberly is facing charges of custodial interference in the second degree and endangering the welfare of a child, police said.
Kirk Shultis Jr. is facing charges of custodial interference in the first degree and endangering the welfare of a child. His father has been charged with felony custodial interference in the first degree and endangering the welfare of a child, police said