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Suspect Jeffrey Shelton
A 5-year-old girl who was abducted in southeast Missouri has been found safe, and the convicted sex offender suspected of taking her has been arrested.
Danielle Shepard of the Missouri State Highway Patrol says the girl was found Wednesday afternoon in an area near her hometown of Poplar Bluff. Shepard didn't have additional details.
She says the girl appeared OK but was taken to a hospital as a precaution.
The girl's mother reported her missing just before 7 a.m., and a witness saw the suspect with the child near the girl's home. A massive manhunt involved more than three dozen officers.
The suspect is a 45-year-old Poplar Bluff man, identified as Jeffrey Shelton, who was convicted for the 1990 abduction, rape and sodomy of a 12-year-old girl in Fort Hood, Texas.
Prosecutors in Butler County, Missouri filed charges later in the afternoon, charging Shelton with 4 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.