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Girl missing since 2019 is found hidden under stairs

A girl who was four years old when she disappeared in 2019 has been found under a staircase 160 miles from where she went missing.

Paislee Shultis, now six, was living in a secret compartment in a home in upstate New York after her parents allegedly abducted her from her legal guardians.

Police had visited the house multiple times in search of the girl as they had their suspicions that Kim Cooper and Kirk Shultis had kidnapped her.

But after receiving a tip they obtained a search warrant for the home in the town of Saugerties and found Paislee on Monday.

They searched the home for ‘a little over an hour’ before one officer found the girl, and Cooper, in the ‘dark and wet’ hiding place.

‘He took a flashlight and looked between the cracks between the steps,’ Saugerties Police Chief Joseph Sinagra told CBS2.

pictured: Paislee Shultis Girl, 4, abducted by her parents in 2019 after they lost custody of her, is found alive in secret makeshift room underneath a staircase in their upstate New York home
Paislee Shultis, now six, is back with her legal guardians and has been reunited with her sister (Picture: Saugerties Police)
This photo provided by the Saugerties, NY, Police Department, Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2022, shows where young girl, reported missing in 2019, was found hidden under a staircase by officers searching a home in New York's Hudson Valley, police said Tuesday. Officers executing a search warrant found the girl hidden with her noncustodial mother in a cold, wet, makeshift enclosure under a basement staircase after about an hour of looking. They caught a first glimpse of the girl's feet after removing some wooden steps, according to police. (Saugerties Police Department via AP)
Police searched the house for about an hour before they found this secret compartment (Picture: AP)
KIRK SHULTIS JR Girl, 4, abducted by her parents in 2019 after they lost custody of her, is found alive in secret makeshift room underneath a staircase in their upstate New York home
Kirk Shultis has been charged with custodial interference and endangering the welfare of a child (Picture: Saugerties Police)
kimberly cooper Girl, 4, abducted by her parents in 2019 after they lost custody of her, is found alive in secret makeshift room underneath a staircase in their upstate New York home
Kimberly Cooper, was found hiding in the compartment with Paislee (Picture: Saugerties Police)

‘He saw what he thought it was a blanket, and at that point they used a halogen tool, a forcible entry tool, and they started ripping the steps off the staircase, itself. At one point they saw little feet, as he put it.’

The home was around an 160 mile drive from where she was last seen at her legal guardians’ home in Spencer, New York.

Police believe Paislee was kept in the house for the whole time she was missing. Sinagra added: ‘The child did not appear to be abused.’

She was in good health, but authorities said she could not read or write and had not been provided any education within the home.

Cooper has been charged with custodial interference in the second degree and endangering the welfare of a child.

She was also wanted on an active warrant, according to the Daily Freeman.

Shultis has been charged with felony custodial interference in the first degree and misdemeanour endangering the welfare of a child.

He has denied knowing Paislee’s location multiple times since she was reported missing.

Sinagra did not say where the girl now is staying due to safety concerns, but said is back with her legal guardians and has been reunited with her sister.

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