Another charge against accused child kidnapper

Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Jeffrey Shelton

DONIPHAN, Mo. -- Accused kidnapper and convicted multiple sex offender Jeffrey Dean Shelton was charged Thursday with molesting another Butler County child.

Four days before Shelton is accused of kidnapping a 5-year-old Poplar Bluff girl, he allegedly kidnapped a Qulin, Mo., girl, age 10, at knife point and took her to Ripley County, where he is accused of sexually abusing her.

Shelton, 45, was charged with first-degree child molestation and the unclassified felony of armed criminal action

by Ripley County Prosecuting Attorney Chris Miller.

Associate Circuit Judge Thomas Swindle issued a warrant for Shelton's arrest and ordered he be held without bond on the Ripley County charges.

Shelton, who has been held without bond in the Butler County Jail since his Oct. 24 arrest, is charged with felony child kidnapping, first-degree burglary and the felonies of second-degree domestic assault and felonious restraint in Butler County.

Shelton is accused of kidnapping a 5-year-old girl, Abigail, from her Wood Street home early Oct. 24. He also is accused of assaulting and restraining his girlfriend when she allegedly found the girl in Shelton's Lela Street home.

The investigation into Abigail's case led authorities to Ripley County, where Shelton is accused of assaulting his girlfriend's father, Curtis Whitlock, after he allegedly found Shelton with the girl in his trailer. Authorities believe Shelton also took the Qulin girl to a trailer on Whitlock's property.

The Qulin girl, according to Butler County investigator Wes Popp's probable-cause statement, was abducted from her home on the afternoon of Oct. 20.

Shelton, who was driving a Nissan Pathfinder when the alleged abduction occurred, "threatened [the girl] to do what he instructed or he would cut her" during the time they were in his SUV, Popp said.

"At one point, Shelton placed the knife against the throat of [the girl] while he ordered her to take off her clothes," Popp said. "Shelton transported [her] to a residence in Ripley County."

Once there, Popp said, Shelton allegedly took the girl from his SUV and into a residence.

"Shelton gained access to the residence by kicking the front door," Popp said. "The residence was not lived in, but was owned by Curtis Whitlock."

Shelton, according to Popp, began molesting her once they were inside the trailer.

Shelton also took explicit photographs of her, Popp said.

According to earlier reports, officers executing a search warrant on Shelton's cellphone found the photographs of a girl, later identified as the Qulin girl, while investigating Abigail's abduction.

Shelton later put the girl back in his vehicle and took her back to Qulin, Popp said, where she was dropped off at a Qulin bank and left to walk home.

The girl's family made contact with the Butler County Sheriff's Department at about 7:45 p.m. that day and an investigation began. Officers had no leads on a suspect until the victim identified Shelton from news photographs of him at the time of Abigail's alleged abduction.

Shelton is expected to face charges in Butler County; additional charges, including at the federal level, are anticipated as the investigation continues.

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