Police found a missing 4-year-old girl alive under a staircase at a New York residence on Monday.
Paislee Shultis (now 6 years old) was found at Saugerties, 45 miles south from Albany, after authorities received a tip about her whereabouts. According to the Saugerties Police Department,
After an hour spent searching in a small room that was not a basement, officers found the girl.
Detective Erik Thiele noticed something odd about the staircase, and saw a blanket when he flashed a light between them.
Police released a statement Tuesday saying that detectives used a tool to remove several wooden steps. Detectives then saw tiny feet. The child and her abductor were found within after removing several steps. The area was small, cold and damp.
Paislee was examined by paramedics, who determined that she was in good health. Police said that Paislee was then returned to her legal guardian.
Paislee disappeared from Cayuga Heights on July 2019. Authorities believe that she was taken by her non-custodial parents. Cayuga Heights lies approximately 160 miles west from Saugerties.
Paislee's disappearance was investigated by Kirk Shultis Jr. and Kimberly Cooper.
Police had previously been following leads to the house where Paislee was eventually found. However, they stated that each time the residents "denied any knowledge" of the location of the little girl.
Police stated that authorities were allowed limited access to the Fawn Road residence by Kirk Shultis Jr. and Sr. to search for the child. They also knew the child and her abductor were hiding in the house and could not find them.
Each Shultis was charged with one count of felony custodial interference, first degree, and misdemeanor endangering a child's welfare.
Cooper was charged in two cases: custodial interference, second degree, and misdemeanor endangering a child's welfare. Cooper was taken into custody in connection with an Ulster County Family Court warrant.
According to police, Shultis Jr. and Shultis Sr. were released on their own recognizance. After a call by NBC News to the address where Paislee was found, neither Shultis nor Shultis were available.
Cooper's number was not in service on Tuesday, and Cooper could not be reached for comment.
All three defendants were subject to orders of protection