Child missing for 2 years found under stairs in New York home

SAUGERTIES, New York (WABC) -- Police in upstate New York say a girl who has been missing since 2019 has been found alive.

Paislee Shultis was found under the staircase of a home at 35 Fawn Road after a police search on Monday, authorities said.

At the time of search warrant execution, the owner of the residence denied having any knowledge of the child's whereabouts telling officers that he had not seen the child since she was reported missing in 2019.

A little over an hour into the search of the residence, police say the child was located secreted in a makeshift room, under a closed staircase leading to the basement of the residence.



Upon removing the step boards, the child and her alleged abductor, Kimberly Cooper were found hiding in the dark and wet enclosure.

Police said her July 13, 2019, disappearance appears to be part of a larger family custody battle with a strange and terrifying twist. The child was abducted from Tompkins County, New York, and it was always the suspicion that she had been taken by her non-custodial parents.

Authorities had visited 35 Fawn Road on numerous occasions and were given limited access to the house. The home is covered with several cameras so those inside would have a warning if someone was coming.

Paislee was 4 years old when she was reported missing, and is said to be in good health. She has since been turned over to her legal guardian and reunited with her older sister.
Her non-custodial parents have now been charged.

Kimberly Cooper, 33, was arrested on the Charge of Custodial Interference in the 2nd Degree and Endangering the Welfare of a Child. Cooper was also wanted on an active warrant of arrest that had been issued through Ulster County Family Court.

Kirk Shultis Jr., 32, was charged with the Felony of Custodial Interference in the 1st Degree and Misdemeanor Endangering the Welfare of a Child.

Kirk Shultis Sr., 57, was charged with the Felony of Custodial Interference in the 1st Degree and Misdemeanor Endangering the Welfare of a Child.

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