Thursday, October 25 2012 11:02 AM EDT2012-10-25 15:02:32 GMT
If you have Facebook friends in the Heartland, most likely you saw posts about the missing Butler County girl Wednesday. Pictures of Abigail Bertholf and the suspect circulated on Facebook, allowing thoseMore >>
If you have Facebook friends in the Heartland, most likely you saw posts about the missing Butler County girl Wednesday. Pictures of Abigail Bertholf and the suspect circulated on Facebook, allowing those in the Heartland to know who to keep their eyes out for.More >>
POPLAR BLUFF, MO (KFVS) -
A Poplar Bluff man accused of kidnapping a 5-year-old girl in Poplar Bluff Wednesday morning that sparked an Amber Alert waived his formal arraignment Thursday morning in court.
Jeffrey Dean Shelton, 45, is charged with burglary first degree, child kidnapping, domestic assault second degree and felonious restraint.
A preliminary hearing is set for Nov. 15. No bond has been set.
Jeffrey Shelton, a registered sex offender, was taken into custody at the corner of Hwy. 67 and Hwy. 158 by a Butler County Sheriff's deputy without incident after a traffic stop just before 2 p.m. Wednesday. This is just southwest of Poplar Bluff.
He is accused of kidnapping 5-year-old Abigail Elaine Bertholf.
According to the probable cause statement, Jeffery Shelton's girlfriend told police she went to his home at 5:30 a.m. Wednesday and saw a little girl sitting in a chair at Shelton's house that she knew was not supposed to be there.
Shelton came into the front room and told his girlfriend it was now her fault that he was going to have to kill her and the child, according to the probable cause statement.
That's when the girlfriend told police Shelton began beating her with his fist and tied her hands together with duct tape.
As she tried to escape, the girlfriend says Shelton caught her in the carport and began beating her again.
When that drew attention from the neighbors, Shelton stopped and ran into the home while the girlfriend ran to a neighbor's house, according to the probable cause statement.
That's when the girlfriend said Shelton grabbed the child and left in a silver Nissan Pathfinder.
Meanwhile, Abigail's mother called police around 6:50 a.m. reporting that her 5-year-old daughter was missing.
Abigail's mother told police she had last seen Abigail asleep on the couch wearing a pink night gown in the living room around 10 p.m. the night before.
Officers saw that the living room window screen next to the door had been cut and the window was open.
At 7:30 a.m., police received a report about an assault from Shelton's girlfriend. She told police she knew the little girl was not supposed to be in his home at 5:30 a.m. The girlfriend told police while she was in Shelton's home, she asked the girl her name and she said "Abigail". She also heard Shelton calling the little girl "Abbie" and "Abigail," according to the probable cause.
According to Deputy Chief Jeff Rolland, Shelton was arrested by officers of the Poplar Bluff Police Department, Butler County Sheriff's Office, and the Missouri State Highway Patrol at Cross Roads Convenience Store at the intersection of Hwy. 67 and Hwy. 158. at 1:45 p.m.
Abigail was taken to Poplar Bluff Regional Medical Center to be evaluated. Medical staff say she appears to be doing okay.
According to Dep. Chief Rolland, Abigail is in good spirits and asked officers for chicken nuggets and a soda.
Neighbors say Shelton hung around the area a lot. One mother says she confronted Shelton about being too close to her children.
Local police say Shelton could possibly face more charges in connection with the sex assault of a different local minor.
Shelton was convicted of kidnapping and forcible sodomy involving a 12-year-old girl in Bell County, Texas in 1990, according to his sex offender registration paperwork.
Deputy Chief Rolland said during a press conference just before Abigail was found that whenever a child is missing, it's very critical. He says the more people that know the better chance to get her home.
"There are more eyes and ears with public, than with law enforcement," said Chief Whitely. He said "Shelton is a dangerous individual."
Rolland says because of the hard work and dedication of law enforcement, Abigail is back with her family and a sexual predator is off the street.
Chief Danny Whiteley would like to thank the following Law Enforcement Agencies: The men and women of the Poplar Bluff Police Department; Sheriff Mark Dobbs and the Butler County Sheriff's Office; The Missouri State Highway Patrol; FBI and the United States Marshal Service.
Chief Danny Whiteley would also like to thank the public for their enormous amount of support and assistance with this case.
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