A 4-year-old girl who went missing over two years ago has been found alive by police, reports NBC News. Paislee Shultis was found hidden underneath a staircase in a New York home on Monday.
Paislee was found at a house in Saugerties, located about 45 minutes south of Albany, New York on Monday night after law enforcement received a tip on her whereabouts.
Police officers found Paislee after searching the residence for about an hour after executing a search warrant, finding her in a makeshift room underneath a staircase leading to the basement of the house.
The detective who located Paislee said he noticed something seemed off about the staircase then saw a blanket underneath after flashing a light in between the steps.
Police then used a tool to remove some of the wooden steps, and saw a pair of small feet. They say they found Paislee there with her abductor and noted that the space was "small, cold and wet."
Paislee was evaluated by paramedics who determined that she was in good health and she was returned to her legal guardian.
Paislee was originally reported missing from Cayuga Heights, New York, about 160 miles west of Saugerties, in July 2019. It was believed that she was taken by her "non-custodial parents."
Kimberly Cooper, Kirk Shultis, Jr., and Kirk Shultis, Sr. were arrested and charged in Paislee's disappearance.
Authorities had apparently followed leads to the same residence before where Paislee was found, but every time the residents were questioned, they "denied any knowledge of the little girl's whereabouts."
Police were even granted "limited access" to the house to look for her by Kirk Shultis, Jr. and Sr., who both presumably knew that she was being well hidden inside of the house.
Both Shultis men were charged with one count each of felony of custodial interference in the first degree and misdemeanor endangering the welfare of a child.
"Number one, this little girl didn’t have a opportunity to go to school. We are pretty certain that she probably wasn’t receiving proper medical attention," Saugerties Police Chief Joseph Sinagra said. "Obviously, the family couldn’t just take her to a doctor because she was a reported missing person. The other concern is you have a child that doesn’t write or read because they didn’t have the opportunity to go to school. They will now."
Paislee is now back with her legal guardian and reunited with her older sister.