A US Girl Missing Since 2019 Has Been Found Alive In A Secret Compartment Under A Staircase

Police pulled up the stairs and saw her "tiny feet" underneath.

Global Editorial Fellow
A US Girl Missing Since 2019 Has Been Found Alive In A Secret Compartment Under A Staircase
Saugerties Police Department

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Police have found a little girl alive inside a secret compartment at a New York home, more than two years after she went missing.

Paislee Shultis, 6, was found under a staircase at a house in Saugerties, New York on Monday, according to state and local police.

Investigators found her inside a cramped space stuffed with blankets and a toy panda, photos show.

Paislee was first reported missing July 2019 in Cayuga Heights, approximately 260 km (160 miles) away from where she was found in Saugerties. She was four years old when she went missing.

Three people, including her non-custodial parents, have been arrested and charged in the case, the Times Union newspaper reports.

Saugerties Police previously visited the house after receiving a tip, but the owners turned them away and claimed not to have seen the girl.

Police said they finally got a search warrant for the home and went in to look for the missing girl on Monday.

Detective Erik Thiele was shinning his flashlight through a set of stairs that led to the basement and noticed a blanket on the other end, police said.

Officers used tools to remove the stairs and knew that they'd found her when they 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," police said at a press conference, as reported by NBC News.

Paislee was examined by paramedics and found to be healthy. She was returned to her legal guardians.

Kirk Shultis Jr., 32, and Kirk Shultis Sr., 57, were arrested and charged with custodial interference and first-degree child endangerment. Kimberly Cooper, 33, was arrested and charged with custodial interference and second-degree child endangerment.

Paislee is now with her older sister.

The investigation is ongoing.

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