A little girl who had been missing for two years has been found safe in a secret room under a staircase in upstate Saugerties — after detectives spotted her “tiny feet” in the hidden space, police said.
Paislee Shultis was just 4 years old when she was reported missing from her Cayuga Heights home, more than 150 miles away, in July 2019, according to NBC 4.
Police initially suspected the girl’s “non-custodial parents” in her disappearance but did not bring charges at the time, reports said.
Then Monday, New York state troopers and local police — acting on a tip that she was in the Hudson Valley town of Saugerties — executed a search warrant at the Ulster County location and discovered her.
Police spent an hour at the address searching for Paislee before finding her and her non-custodial mother, Kimberly Cooper, in what they described as a “small, cold and wet” secret room under a staircase.
Saugerties police said in a release that “detectives used a tool to remove several of the wooden steps, and that is when detectives saw a pair of tiny feet,” NBC News reported Tuesday.
“After removing several more steps, the child and her abductors were discovered within,” cops said.
Paislee was examined by paramedics and found to be in good health and was released to the custody of her older sister, NBC reported.
Cooper and Kirk Shultis Jr., the girl’s non-custodial father, have been charged in the case, along with Shultis’ father.
The trio faces custodial interference and child endangerment charges.
Shultis and his father, Kirk Shultis Sr., have been released on their own recognizance, according to the local ABC affiliate.
Cooper is being held in Ulster County Jail on an outstanding Family Court warrant, the NBC report said.
All three have been ordered to stay away from the kidnapped girl.
Saugerties police did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Paislee’s sister could not be reached Tuesday.
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