In a secret hiding place under a staircase. That's where Saugerties police found 4-year-old Paislee Shultis, who has been missing since 2019. The bizarre details of the case go beyond where authorities found young Paislee, but the first miracle to celebrate is that she was found  "in good health", according to medics at the scene. Exactly how police found Paislee is staggering.

Paislee's original missing poster (Chief Joseph Sinagra)
Paislee's original missing poster (Chief Joseph Sinagra)

160 Miles from Home

When Paisley was reported missing over two years ago in Cayuga Heights, NY, authorities called it a suspected kidnapping by her "non-custodial parents", the definition of which is a biological parent or parents that do not have legal custody of their child. That suspicion may have been the reason that police had actually made inquiries at the house where Paislee was eventually found, only to be turned away from the residents living there, Kirk Shultis Sr. and Kirk Shultis Jr. Law enforcement was even allowed to search the premises on several occasions but came up empty. Police suspect that they were only cleared to look because the Shultises believed that the secret space beneath the stairs would never be discovered. Luckily, that wasn't the case this time.

The staircase where Paislee was found (Saugerties Police)
The staircase where Paislee was found (Chief Joseph Sinagra)

Found beneath the Stairs

According to Saugerties police, they responded again to the house after receiving a tip. Once inside, Detective Erik Thiele reported something seeming off about the staircase. From Saugerties PD:

Detective Erik Thiele noticed something about the staircase leading from the back of the residence into the basement of the house that caught his attention. Detective Thiele thought the construction of the steps were odd, something was out of place... Using a flashlight, Detective Thiele shined the light through a crack between the wooden steps and observed what he believed to be a blanket. Upon inspecting the staircase, the structure appeared to be solid. However, Detectives used a halogen tool to remove several of the wooden steps, and that is when detectives saw a pair of tiny feet. After removing several more steps, the child and her abductor were discovered within. The space was small, cold, and wet.

Young Paislee has been reunited with her legal guardian, and Kirk Shultis Jr., Kirk Shultis Sr., as well as Kimberly Cooper have been arrested and charged with varying degrees of custodial interference and endangering the welfare of a child.


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