Missing since 2019, child found hidden under staircase with accused abductor

SAUGERTIES, NY — On July 13, 2019, four-year-old Paislee Shultis was reported missing from Tioga County.

Investigators, at the time, believed that Paislee was abducted by her non-custodial parents, Kimberly Cooper and Kirk Shultis, Jr.

Saugerties police released this photo of Paislee Shultis, believing back in 2020 she was in the Saugerties area. (WRGB/Saugerties Police)

Police in Saugerties say on February 14th, detectives searched a home on Fawn Road with a warrant. There, they spoke with the residents, including Paislee’s biological father, who denied knowing the girl’s whereabouts.

Police say a detective located an odd section of staircase that appeared out of place.

The home on Fawn Road in Saugerties where the young girl was found in a compartment under a staircase by Police. (WRGB)

Investigators say when the detective shined a light into a crack, he found what appeared to be a blanket. After removing several of the steps, the child and her accused abductor were found in a small room, secreted under the stairs.

Investigators say when the detective shined a light into a crack, he found what appeared to be a blanket. After removing several of the steps, the child and her accused abductor were found in a small room, secreted under the stairs. (Saugerties Police)

Police arrested 33-year-old Kimberly Cooper, and charged her with custodial interference and endangering the welfare of a child. She was also wanted on a warrant out of Ulster County Family Court.

Kirk Shultis Jr., 32, and Kirk Shultis Sr., 57, were charged with felony custodial interference and endangering the welfare of a child.

Police arrested 33-year-old Kimberly Cooper, and charged her with custodial interference and endangering the welfare of a child. She was also wanted on a warrant out of Ulster County Family Court. Kirk Shultis Jr., 32, and Kirk Shultis Sr., 57, were charged with felony custodial interference and endangering the welfare of a child.

All were arraigned and released on their own recognizance.

Saugerties Police say Paislee was in good health and was turned over to her legal guardian and reunited with her older sister.

Police Chief Joseph Sinagra say “When this family was living up in Spencer, New York, there was some sort of custody issue where both lost custody of their children, one of them being Paisley. Family had believed at the time in 2019 when the family lost custody and they disappeared that they had come here to Saugerities because Shultis Sr. lives here, and that’s the grandfather of Paisley.”

Police say this was not the first time they interviewed Shultis Jr. and Sr. While following leads, police say the child biological father claimed that the child’s mother had fled to Pennsylvania and that he had not seen the child since 2019.

Investigators say when the detective shined a light into a crack, he found what appeared to be a blanket. After removing several of the steps, the child and her accused abductor were found in a small room, secreted under the stairs. (Saugerties Police)

CBS 6 Heather Kovar says that Saugerties police say they found a child hidden in the home behind her.

Cassidy Campbell

Hi! This is Cassidy! I love to write, enjoy nature, sing and sleep.