Amber Alert canceled, missing Missouri girl found safe
Posted: October 24, 2012 at 11:54 a.m.
Updated: October 24, 2012 at 3:25 p.m.
POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. A 5-year-old girl abducted in southeast Missouri was found safe hours later Wednesday, and the convicted sex offender suspected of taking her was arrested, authorities said.
The girl, named Abigail, and the suspect, later identified as 45-year-old Jefferey Shelton, were found during a traffic stop at 1:50 p.m. Wednesday along a rural highway about 10 miles south of her hometown of Poplar Bluff, said Darron Moore, a police officer in Poplar Bluff.
Moore said the Shelton’s silver 2001 Nissan Pathfinder was spotted and stopped by officers from the Poplar Bluff department, Butler County Sheriff’s Department and the Missouri State Highway Patrol. Shelton did not try to flee and did not resist arrest, Moore said. He was being held at the Butler County jail.
Abigail was taken to a hospital as a precaution, Moore said. “She was alive and well and appeared to be fine,” he said.
“It doesn’t get any better than this, for her to be safely returned to her mother and for the suspect hopefully to be in custody for the rest of his life and never do this again,” Moore said.
Butler County prosecutor Kevin Barbour said he was finalizing paperwork on charges, but declined to say what those charges will entail.
Abigail’s mother discovered just before 7 a.m. that she was missing and contacted police. A witness saw Abigail leaving the area of the home with a man police identified as Shelton, who lives about a mile away, Moore said.
Moore said the Abigail’s family does not know Shelton, and it wasn’t clear what would have led him to the child or how he was able to get her out of the home.
Shelton was convicted in 1990 for the abduction, rape and sodomy of a 12-year-old girl in Fort Hood, Texas.
FBI Special Agent Mark Aldrich said dozens of officers in the air and on the ground were searching in the hours before Abigail was found, and police in surrounding states also were on the lookout. Poplar Bluff is near the Missouri-Arkansas border.
Photos and some information provided by Amberalert.com.