Exclusive: Ex-babysitter offers more insight into Paislee Shultis' abduction case
A former babysitter is now speaking exclusively with News 12 about the family court order that allegedly caused Kirk and Kimberly Shultis, the parents of Paislee Shultis, to panic and take off with the girl to Saugerties.
The abduction case has made national headlines since the child was found alive Monday inside a locked box allegedly built to hide her from police beneath a stairwell.
LIVE UPDATES: Paislee Shultis case
News 12 is told that custody was granted to the maternal grandmother in 2019 after she raised concerns about Paislee and her sister’s late-night schedule with their parents at their job on construction sites and alleged drug use.
The babysitter says Shultis owned his own paving company upstate and that his wife would often work with him.
She says the parents couldn't afford child care for Paislee and her older sister and would often take the children on job sites until close to midnight.
Online records show that Shultis had criminal troubles in 2019.
He was arrested in North Carolina for methamphetamines, while the babysitter says the family was on vacation. North Carolina prosecutors say that Shultis Jr. was charged with methamphetamine and heroin possession. He pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of drug paraphernalia and served eight days in county jail.
Pennsylvania prosecutors say that Shultis pleaded guilty to home improvement fraud, served two months in jail and was not compliant with the terms of his release while out on bail and on parole.
Authorities say the arrests may have sealed the family’s fate in court and prompted a frightening chain of events for the child that authorities say could have been avoided.
“I understand as a parent no one wants to lose custody of their children, but sometimes the right thing for us to do for our children is the hardest thing to do for our children. What they should’ve done in 2019 when custody was granted to a third party, they should’ve relinquished the child rather than run and hide," says Joseph Sinatra, of Saugerties police.
Paislee’s parents and grandfather are charged in connection with her disappearance.
The case is also under grand jury review for more serious charges.
Paislee is safe and reunited with her sister and grandmother, who maintains legal custody.