Posted: Oct 24, 2012 5:36 PM by Region 8 News
Updated: Oct 24, 2012 5:40 PM
From Region 8 News: POPLAR BLUFF, MO (KAIT) - Poplar Bluff Police have confirmed that the hunt for a registered sex offender and a 5-year-old is now over.
Around 1:50 Wednesday afternoon, Abigail Bertholf and 46-year-old Jeffery Shelton, of Poplar Bluff were found and placed in police custody. They were found in southern Butler County near the intersection Highway 67 and Highway 160.
Shelton was stopped by a Butler County Sheriff's Deputy and did not try to flee and was taken into custody without incident.
Police say Abigail is said to be safe and sound. Abigail was taken to Poplar Bluff Regional Medical Center to be evaluated. Medical staff says she appears to be doing OK. Police say she was in good spirits and asked for chicken nuggets and a soda.
It appears that Shelton was still in the vehicle police were searching for.
The Butler County prosecutor charged Jeffrey Dean Shelton of Poplar Bluff on Wednesday with four felonies, including child kidnapping and domestic assault.
The probable cause statement says a woman went to Shelton's home early Wednesday and saw the child and that Shelton told the woman he was going to have to kill her and the girl. The woman told authorities that Shelton bound her with duct tape and made the child expose herself. The woman escaped, and Shelton fled with the child.
During a press conference earlier Wednesday, the Poplar Bluff Police department pleaded with Shelton to release Abigail, who was reported missing early Wednesday morning.
"Let her out at a convenience store or a hospital. Let's get her back safely," said Police Chief Danny Whiteley.
Police issued an Amber Alert for Abigail, who was thought to be in the company Shelton.
According to investigators, the child's mother, Eva Crawford, said she last saw her at 10 p.m. Tuesday when she put her to bed in her home on the 2100 block of Woods Street. She said when she woke up before 6 a.m., and noticed Abigail was missing.
Abigail was reported missing around 6:50 a.m Wednesday morning.
Poplar Bluff Police Captain Dave Sutton said Shelton is not related to Abigail or her family, and Deputy Jeff Rolland said Crawford told police she had last seen Abigail asleep on the couch in the living room of her home.
"[We] can't disclose anything on his background that led to him as a suspect. This is a dangerous individual. Let law enforcement handle it," explained Whiteley.
Captain Sutton also said that officers had originally responded to the home due to a domestic assault call, and Shelton was last seen leaving Wood Street with Abigail by his side around 6:30 a.m., though police have not said who reported the sighting.
Family members we spoke with say police cut out part of a window screen and took part of the couch for evidence.
Neighbors say Shelton hung around the area a lot. One mother says she confronted Shelton about being too close to her children.
Shelton is a registered sex offender. According to Missouri State Highway Patrol, Shelton was arrested in 1990 for the kidnapping, rape, and sodomy of a 12-year-old girl in Fort Hood, Texas.