Paislee Shultis’ Parents Face Years in Prison if Convicted of Abducting Child

The non-custodial parents of Paislee Shultis, who was found Monday after being reported missing since 2019, are now facing charges of child endangerment and could be sentenced to multiple years in prison if convicted.

Police confirmed Tuesday that Paislee Shultis, 6, was found alive in a makeshift room under a closed staircase that leads to the basement of a home inhabited by her non-custodial parents, Kimberly Cooper and Kirk Shultis Jr. in the town of Saugerties, New York.

Paislee Shultis had been reported as missing from her Cayuga Heights, New York, home in July 2019. At the time, she was 4 years old.

Both of the child’s parents, Kimberly Cooper and Kirk Shultis Jr., were arrested on Monday and have now been charged, according to the Saugerties Police Department. Kirk Shultis Jr’s father, Kirk Shultis Sr was also arrested and charged.

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

Both Kirk Shultis Jr. and Kirk Shultis Sr. have been charged with the first-degree felony custodial interference and endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor

“Because custodial interference in the first degree is a class E felony the maximum possible prison sentence is 4 years,” according to a report by Stephen Bilkis & Associates Law Offices. “Particularly if you have no prior convictions, the judge may choose to sentence you to a probation term of 5 years instead of sending you to prison.”

Regarding child endangerment, those convicted can face multiple penalties including fines, probation, and jail time.

“People convicted of a misdemeanor child endangerment charge typically face up to one year in jail,” said a report from the Criminal Defense Lawyer website.

“Fines imposed for child endangerment convictions differ widely. A misdemeanor child endangerment conviction can bring fines of up to $1,000, while felony convictions can come with fines up to $10,000 or more.”

Newsweek has contacted the Saugerties Police Department for comment.

Newsweek reported on the police’s discovery of Paislee Shultis earlier in the week.

Police had believed when the girl went missing that she had been abducted by Cooper and Shultis Jr. When police previously investigated Shultis Jr. he told investigators Paislee’s biological mother had fled to Pennsylvania and he had not seen the child since, Albany news station WRGB reported.

The case had run cold until Monday when police received a tip that Paislee could be held in a home on Fawn Road in Saugerties.

At around 8:00 p.m. local time on Monday, after obtaining a search warrant, Saugerties police officers, state troopers, detectives and members of the New York State Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) searched the residence for the missing child.

After an hour search in the home, the child was located in a makeshift room under a closed staircase that led to the basement. She was found in a dark and wet enclosure with Cooper, according to the police.

Paislee Shultis was examined by paramedics and is reported to be in good health. She was then released and returned to her legal guardian.

Paislee Shultis
Photos of the non-custodial parents of Paislee Shultis, Kimberly Cooper (L) and Kirk Shultis Jr. (R). They were arrested after police found the missing child on Monday.
Saugerties Police Department

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