A 6-year-old girl who was abducted over two years ago was found alive after being hidden behind a staircase, according to police.
“That’s what we believed all along,” Chief Joseph Sinagra from the Saugerties Police Department explained. “Is that they somehow had built something where they could hide the child, and that’s ended up being what the case was.”
Paislee Shultis was just 4 years old when she was reported missing from Cayuga Heights, New York, in 2019. Recently, police got a tip to search a home 160 miles east in Saugerties, New York.
After hours of going up and down the stairs of the home, one detective felt something was off and looked closer. And between the cracks of the boards, he saw a blanket.
“When they got more boards off, they found a girl, Paislee and her biological mother, Kimberly… Cooper hiding in that location,” Sinagra said.
Paislee was abducted by her biological parents Kimberly Cooper and Kirk Shultis, Jr. when they learned authorities would remove the child from their house and give custody to a new legal guardian, police said.
They were arrested along with Kirk Shultis, Sr. in connection with Paislee’s disappearance.
Shultis Jr. and Kirk Shultis Sr. were both charged with first-degree custodial interference, a felony, and endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor, according to News 12 Westchester. Police have released them on their own recognizance.
Cooper was charged with custodial interference and endangering the welfare of a child. She was remanded to Ulster County Jail.
“I’m concerned about why our officers could walk up and down the stairs so many times and the child not make a sound, the mother not saying anything,” Sinagra said. “So I’m kind of concerned about what kind of information was conveyed to that little girl.”
Paislee was in good health after being rescued. Police said she wanted McDonald’s.
“Detectives were driving past a McDonald’s on 212,” Sinagra said. “She got all excited, and she said, ‘is that at McDonald’s?’ And detective said, ‘yes, it is.’ And she said, ‘I remember I, I liked McDonald’s food. I haven’t had it in so long.’
“The detective just turned right around and went right back to McDonald’s.”
Paislee has since been reunited with her legal guardian.