6-year-old New York girl missing since 2019 found alive in wet compartment under stairs


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New York police found a missing girl Monday night who was last seen in 2019.

Paislee Shultis, 6, was found alive in a hidden alcove in her non-custodial parents’ home more than 150 miles from where she was last seen, according to the Saugerties Police Department.

Police said they were tipped and then obtained and served a search warrant at a home on Fawn Road on Monday, about 185 miles north of New York City. They reportedly found the girl in a damp makeshift compartment under a basement staircase.

Three adults have been charged in connection with the case. Kirk Shultis Jr., 32, Kirk Shultis Sr., 57, and Kimberly Cooper, 33, each face charges of interference with custody and endangering the life of a child.

This photo provided by the Saugerties, NY Police Department on Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2022, shows where a young girl, reported missing in 2019, was found hiding under a staircase by officers searching a home in the Hudson Valley in New York, police said Tuesday. .
(Saugerties Police Department via AP)

Cooper and young Shultis are Paislee’s biological parents, but neither has custody.

In a statement, Saugerties police said the owner, Shultis Sr., denied knowing the whereabouts of his granddaughter and told him he hadn’t seen her since. she had been reported missing in 2019.

The Albany-based WRGB reported two years ago that Paislee was last seen July 13, 2019, and was believed to be with Cooper and Shultis Jr. New York state authorities have stated in a Missing Children newsletter at the time that they believed she may have been taken to Saugerties.

City Police Chief Joseph Sinagra did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

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He told the Daily Freeman, a newspaper based in nearby Kingston, that the girl’s parents had lost custody of their children – but allegedly fled with Pasilee on the day they were supposed to hand them over to authorities in the city. ‘State. Her older sister was in school at the time and was placed in the care of a legal guardian.

6-year-old New York girl missing since 2019 found alive in wet compartment under stairs

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He also said Paislee appeared “well taken care of and in good health”, but noted that she had never been to school since her disappearance in 2019.

Shultis Jr. previously told police Cooper left him and moved to Pennsylvania and hadn’t seen her since 2019, FOX 5 New York reported. But she reportedly hid under the stairs with Paislee at Shultis’ father’s house in Saugerties on Monday night.

6-year-old New York girl missing since 2019 found alive in wet compartment under stairs

But when police searched his home, they said they saw a suspicious section of the basement staircase about an hour into their investigation. After removing some of the boards, they saw the girl inside.

A photograph of the crime scene shows the compartment filled with blankets and a pillow shaped like a panda bear. Authorities said conditions inside were damp and cold.

Paramedics examined Paislee and determined she was fine before transferring her to her legal guardian and reuniting her with her older sister.

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The three suspects are due in court on Wednesday morning. The Ulster County Prosecutor’s Office said it does not comment on ongoing litigation.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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