NEW YORK (NewsNation Now) — A girl who went missing more than two years ago was found alive Monday hidden underneath a staircase in a New York home.
Police found Paislee Shultis, 6, after they got a tip regarding her whereabouts in a house in Saugerties, about 45 miles south of Albany.
Saugerties police Chief Joseph Singara said investigators combed the house for about an hour before a detective noticed there was something about the wooden steps to the basement that didn’t look right.
“They basically decided they were staying until they found that child,” Singara said.
Detectives used a Halligan tool to remove the wooden steps from the staircase and that’s when they discovered two tiny feet in a cold, wet crawlspace. Police said they found the girl and Kimberly Cooper Shultis — Paislee’s biological mother who is accused of abducting the child — hiding in the dark room.
Police had previously searched the residence several times before, but Paislee’s father, Kirk Shultis Jr., and her paternal grandfather Kirk Shultis, Sr., both denied seeing the girl or knowing of her whereabouts.
“I’m concerned about why our officers could walk up and down the stairs so many times … and the child not make a sound, Singara said. “The mother (did) not say anything. So I’m kinda concerned about what kind of information was conveyed to the girl about the police.”
After being checked out by paramedics, Paislee was released to her legal guardian in good health and reunited with her older sister, police said.
Kimberly Cooper Shultis, Kirk Shultis Jr., and Kirk Shultis, Sr., were arrested and charged with Paislee’s disappearance.
Cooper was charged with custodial interference in the second degree and endangering the welfare of a child. She was also wanted on a warrant from the Ulster County Family Court. She was taken into custody at Ulster County Jail.
Both the elder and younger Shultis are charged with one count each of custodial interference in the first degree and misdemeanor endangering the welfare of a child. Both of them were arraigned and released on their own recognizance.
Stay-away orders of protection were issued against all three suspects.
Paislee was just 4 years old when she was reported missing from Spencer, New York, on July 13, 2019.