Missing 6-Year-Old Found After 2 Years! She Was Kept Under The Stairs Like Harry Potter!
While the news is usually full of sad and downright scary stories there are also those that shock and surprise and at times in a good way. Such as a story of a missing child who after going missing in 2019, has been found alive. The story of Paislee Shultis had many people across the world let out a sigh of relief after hearing that she has been found. While the circumstances of it were horrifying and there potentially could be long-lasting trauma for the 6-year-old child, the story has ended on a positive note. But what exactly happened? How did Paislee go missing? Who were the people that kidnapped her? And just how was she found in the unusual hiding spot? Read on until the very end to find out the whole story.
How Did Paislee Go Missing?
The world first heard about Paislee in 2019. The girl, who at the time was aged 4, was reported missing on July 13th that year, from Cayuga Heights, a village on the outskirts of Ithaca. As police Chief Joseph Sinagra told people at the time, her biological parents Kimberly Cooper and Kirk Shultis, Jr had lost custody of Paislee and her older sister and another legal guardian, allegedly someone from her family, was granted custody of the two girls. When the little girl went missing, authorities had commented on the fact that they believe that they were the ones who had taken her. But was that the case? Read on to find out.
Investigation Into Her Being Missing
Speaking with CNN, Sinagra talked about how over the past several years they had several tip-offs that the child was inside Shultis Sr.’s house in Saugerties, upstate New York. Each time authorities had come to investigate, both Sr. and Jr. had denied any knowledge about the little girl’s whereabouts. At times they had allowed them into the house so that they could search for the child. However, according to the officer’s comments, several times they were not allowed in the bedroom areas or in the basement.
Obtaining A Search Warrant
Though given that there was no factual basis for the tip-offs it was difficult for the officers to obtain a warrant to search the property. Though that was until February 2022 that they had finally gathered enough factual information which had, in turn, helped them secure a search warrant, according to reports from CNN. On the day that they had found the girl, uniformed officers had been stationed outside of the house to ensure that no one would leave or enter before police could execute their warrant. But what exactly did they find? Read on to find out.
Discovering The Girl
This time the officers were able to gain entry into the basement, where they found an apartment that included a bedroom with Paislee’s name on a wall and a bed that appeared to have been slept in. Seeing this, officers had asked whether the child was there but once again the residents had denied that anyone had lived there and they claimed the room was set up like that in an event that the girl should ever return. But what they would soon discover was that she was hidden under the stairs just 3 or 4 feet away.
Under The Stairs Hiding Spot
It was roughly an hour and a half into the search that detective Erik Thiele had taken a closer look at the wooden staircase. As chief Singara told CNN, the officer couldn’t put his finger on it but there was something about it that bothered him. So he decided to point his flashlight at the spot where a stair met the riser and he saw what he believed was a blanket. And so, all the officers had begun to disassemble the staircase and as they were removing the steps they saw a set of little feet. They belonged to Paislee who was hidden under the staircase with her non-custodial mother, huddled in a nest of pillow and blankets.
Conditions The Child Was Kept In
The conditions in which she was found were described as wet and cold. While it is unknown, investigators believe that the space was used more than once and the now-6-year-old would be hidden in there every time that officers had visited the residence. It is also speculated that the woman and the child were hiding under those stairs since the police arrived outside of the home which would have meant that they were hidden under the staircase for up to five hours.
Paislee’s Life During Those Two Years
Today the girl is safe and has been reunited with her legal guardian and her older sister, yet there are still many things that investigators are trying to piece together. Over that time, the girl was not able to attend school and as the chief of police explained, it is unclear whether she has seen a doctor since her disappearance. It is also unknown what kind of long-lasting effects this will have on the child however, experts have commented that they believe the trauma will manifest in the 6-year-old in one way or another. Though for the most part, many are just happy that in a day and age where many children go missing for years, such as Madeleine McCann, it is reassuring that there are some who are found alive and well. But what has happened to the people who held her captive? Read on to find out.
Paislee’s Captors Arrested
The girl's biological mother, Kimberly Cooper, was arrested along with the girl's non-custodial father and grandfather. The woman was charged with second-degree custodial interference and endangering the welfare of a child. According to police, both are misdemeanors and she has since been released on bail. Kirk Shultis Sr. and Jr were each charged with a custodial misdemeanor and both men were indicted and released on their own recognizance. All three defendants were ordered by the court to stay away from the child.
Officers that were present during the search of the property had commented on the fact that the 6-year-old did not make a sound while they were in the house and that knowing what they know now, the silence was eerie to them. And while Chief Sinagra is happy that the child is safe he noted that the case was tragic for another reason as whatever the reason that the parent’s lost custody of their childer was, it surely could have been rectified by now, however now this will be a major setback for them. Investigators had also pointed out that it was thanks to a concrete tip from a community member that this rescue was possible.