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Details Emerge About Sex Offender Who Allegedly Kidnapped Poplar Bluff Girl

More information about how a registered sex offender allegedly broke into a Poplar Bluff home and took a 5-year-old child are emerging now that both are in custody.

October 24, 2012|Joanna Small | Reporter

POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. — National statistics say it's one of the rarest types of abductions but it happened here in Missouri.  A registered sex offender kidnapped a 5-year-old girl from her home in Poplar Bluff; he's in custody and the girl is safe Wednesday night.

  The details are still sketchy but according to police the girl was kidnapped some time after 6 a.m. Wednesday.  A woman saw suspect Jeffrey Dean Shelton and the child together at his house.  He duct-taped the woman, threatened to kill her and the girl, and made the girl expose herself before leaving with her.
  the woman escaped and called police... just as the girl's mother was doing the same.

  It sounds like the plot of a horror movie-- "the screen window was cut open and she was laying on the couch so I guess he just put his hand in there and grabbed her"-- yet that's what a neighbor recalls really happened at this Poplar Bluff home early Wednesday morning.
  Police say the man who reached inside the window is Shelton.  While her mother, neighbors, and law enforcement frantically searched Shelton allegedly had a little girl in his custody for seven hours.

  "From the news media and the amber alert I think the pressure was just getting to him so much he knew the noose was tightening up, he had no place to go," Poplar Bluff Police Chief Danny Whiteley told reporters at a news conference.

  Shelton's been in that position before-- a wanted man in possession of a child.  In 1990 he was convicted of kidnapping and raping a 12-year-old girl in Texas.
  Police don't know what happened to this Missouri girl but she's safe.  Shelton and the child were discovered on a traffic stop at an intersection 10 miles south of Poplar Bluff.

  "When they had her on scene she was asking officers about chicken nuggets and soda so I think she's doing great right now," Whiteley said.

  Shelton is charged with four felonies including kidnapping, burglary, and assault.  We know he's not related to the girl he took but we don't know if he knew her.  Neighbors of the child say Shelton hung around the area often and had been told before to stay away.

  According to there have been eight Amber Alerts in Missouri since 2010.  In every case but one the child was found.  Baby Lisa Irwin is still missing from Kansas City; she was taken from her home October 4th of last year.

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