Missing child found under basement stairs wraps up prolonged investigation
By: Soren Sabey
Four year old Pailee Shutis was reported missing in 2019 in a small town in New York. A tip led the cops to the grandfather's house. A detective noticed something off about the stairs and when he inspected it closer he saw a blanket sticking out. “Detectives used a tool to remove several of the wooden steps, and that is when detectives saw a pair of tiny feet. After removing several more steps, the child and her abductor were discovered within,” police said,
adding that Paislee and her mother were found in a makeshift room, under a closed staircase leading to the basement of the residence”. The parents of Paislee Shultis were found to have abducted their daughter after losing custody of her in 2019 and kept her hidden in Saugerties, where her grandfather lives, since then. Pailee was four years old when her parents lost custody of her. It is still unclear why the authorities were taking the kids. On the day that authorities planned to take Paliee and her sister Cayuga, Pailees mother and father fled with her. Luckily her sister Cayuga was in school so she was left behind. Police are still trying to figure out what happened during the two years that she was missing but her parents, Kimberly Cooper, 33, and Kirk Shultis, 32 never had any charges filed against them. Police had already been to the grandfather's home multiple times after receiving tips that Pailee was being held somewhere in the house. Police chef Joseph Sinagra says “A number of times we would go there, and sometimes, we were met with resistance, and at other times, they’d say: ‘Oh, no, you can come in and look around. There’s nobody here. The child’s not here, "We'd been at the home ... almost a dozen times over a two-year period to follow up on leads," Sinagra said. Kirk Shultis Sr and Jr. would give officers limited access, police said, and would not allow them into the bedrooms or basement area. Kimberly Cooper, Kirk Shultis, along with the grandfather are facing interference and child endangerment charges. One of the neighbors, Annette Wrolsen was interviewed about what she thought of the situation. Wroslen says this discovery came as a huge surprise to her. “They’re as normal as normal can be except for the fact that they’ve got playground equipment out there and I’ve never seen a child out there in 12 years that we’ve been living here.” Police are still trying to pin down the exact details of what went down over the past three years but they hope to pin Kimberly and Kirk with child endangerment charges.