Paislee Shultis: Authorities found missing girl after receiving tip unlike any other information they had

But new information has turned the whole investigation upside down, police said, leading them directly to a place they’ve long suspected to be his location but have never been able to prove: the home of his biological parents. Paisley.

“That tip was fresh, it was factual. The information provided was substantiated,” Saugerties Police Department Chief Joseph Sinagra told CNN’s Mark Morales.

Paislee, now 6, was found alive on Monday hiding under a staircase with her birth mother. The child was returned to his legal guardian and older sister, police said, and his biological parents and grandfather were arrested.

While authorities had visited the home numerous times, they did not have the evidence necessary to conduct a full search of the property.

“We can’t execute a search warrant or act on hearsay, we have to act on factual information. And on that day, February 14, we got factual information. And that’s what who made things so different,” Sinagra said.

Police declined to share what precisely the tip was or who it came from. But it turned out to be the key, allowing the authorities to gain legal access to the house and ultimately find Paislee.

The tip received was not the first

Saugerties is about 160 miles east of Cayuga Heights and where Paislee was eventually found. Authorities visited the home frequently, working on information received about his possible whereabouts, Sinagra said, but for the most part officers were irritated.

Kimberly Cooper and Kirk Shultis Jr., Paislee’s non-custodial parents, would accuse police of “harassing” and “harassing” them and “insisting that we look for Paislee,” Sinagra said.

The Paislee Shultis case shows that missing persons investigations, especially involving children, can be complicated

“Very few occasions were allowed into the residence, and when officers were allowed in, access was restricted. They were never allowed into the basement, they were never never been allowed into the bedrooms,” Sinagra said.

“And many times we’ve been told to leave, to get off my property. And we have to comply with that. It’s a Fourth Amendment right. We don’t have the right to search or seize anyone’s property. unless you have the legal authority to do so,” the chief said.

That changed on Monday when police received information substantial enough for a warrant to be obtained.

Officers arrived outside the house around 4 p.m. to make sure no one left. Police then executed the warrant shortly after 8 p.m., the chief said. The owner denied knowing where the girl was, saying he had not seen her since she was reported missing in 2019.

Police said the secret place under the stairs leading to the basement appeared to have been built to hide the girl.

finally found

For the first time, detectives were able to search every room in the house and get to the basement, where the police chief said he found what looked like an apartment.

“There was a kitchen, there were bedrooms, a sitting area. One of the bedrooms was dedicated to Paislee. She had her name on the wall, there were clothes that were strewn about the bedroom, the bed had appeared on the wall. slept,” Sinagra said.

Residents told police the girl was not home and said they had set up the room that way in case she ever returned.

The child’s bedroom was also near a staircase, under which the police would eventually discover the young child and her mother hiding. A detective made the discovery after noticing something strange on the stairs, and upon further examination saw a blanket between the cracks, the chief said.

“So they grab some tools and they start taking the stairs down. And as they take the steps off the stairs, they see a set of feet, little feet,” the police chief said.

In the hideout, police also found blankets, a pillow and clothes, the chief said, adding it was obvious the place had been used more than once.

“We are of the opinion, based on our investigation, that this location was likely used any time we sent an officer to the residence to follow up on a lead,” he said.

Birth family charged

Kimberly Cooper, Paislee’s birth mother, has been charged with interfering with second-degree custody and endangering the welfare of a child, two misdemeanors, police say. She is out on bail.

Kirk Shultis Jr. and Kirk Shultis Sr., Paislee’s biological father and grandfather, have each been charged with first-degree custody interference, a felony, and endangering the well-being of a child, a crime. Both were arrested and released on their own responsibility, police said. The three defendants were ordered by the court to stay away from the child.

The men’s attorneys declined to comment, while Carol K. Morgan, an attorney representing Cooper, said, “We should all wait for the facts to come out. Everyone should be patient before coming to their own conclusions.”

CNN’s Mark Morales, Christina Maxouris, Ray Sanchez, Dakin Andone, Mirna Alsharif, Jessica Prater, Kiely Westhoff, Lauren del Valle and Chris Hippensteel contributed to this report.

About Linda Jackson

Check Also

A battle over how to fight for Roe: Protests at judges’ homes fuel resentment

But critics say protesters shouldn’t be there at all. Some Republicans have pointed to a …