Abduction suspect might have abused more kids

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Detectives investigating a convicted sex offender accused of abducting a 5-year-old Missouri girl say they have found images on his computer depicting sexual assaults of children, the police chief in the girl’s hometown said Friday.

The video was found after Poplar Bluff police arrested Jeffrey Dean Shelton, who is accused of kidnapping the girl from her home Wednesday. The child was with him when he was arrested later that day, along a rural highway nearby, after calling police to turn himself in.

Poplar Bluff Police Chief Danny Whiteley said investigators searched Shelton’s computer and found video images of a man sexually assaulting children. One of the victims depicted was a girl around the age of 10 from the Poplar Bluff area, Whiteley said. Shelton has not been charged with a sex crime involving the 5-year-old.

“I wish the death penalty was applicable in this case,” Whiteley said. “A violent pedophile sex offender does not get rehabilitated.”

Shelton, who spent more than 20 years in prison for kidnapping and sexually assaulting three children in Texas, pleaded not guilty to child kidnapping and three other charges Thursday. A preliminary hearing is set for Nov. 15. Shelton is jailed without bond in the Butler County Jail.

Whiteley said police will seek additional charges in state court based on evidence seized on the computer, along with federal child pornography charges. He did not say when those charges would be sought.

Shelton’s attorney, public defender

Steven Lynxwiler, said he didn’t yet have full details of the investigation and declined comment.

Poplar Bluff, a town of 17,000 residents, is about 150 miles southwest of St. Louis.

Shelton, 45, was released from prison in Texas in February 2011. Police aren’t sure why he ended up in Missouri and say neither the 5-year-old nor her family knew Shelton, who lived about a mile from their home.

“We have no reason to believe this was anything other than a stranger abduction,” Whiteley said.

The girl’s mother said the child was sleeping on a couch in their home’s living room Tuesday night. When the mother awoke Wednesday morning, the girl was gone.

According to a probable cause statement from police, a woman described as Shelton’s current or ex-girlfriend went to Shelton’s home around 5:30 a.m. Wednesday and saw the child sitting in a chair. The woman said that when Shelton came into the front room, he told her it was “now her fault that he was going to have to kill her and the child.”

The woman told authorities Shelton beat her, knocked her to the floor and bound her hands with duct tape. She said Shelton then made the girl expose herself, according to the probable cause statement.

The woman told authorities she attempted to escape but Shelton caught her and beat her again, stopping when he realized neighbors were watching. The woman said Shelton then fled with the child.

Police said Shelton took the girl to rural property owned by his girlfriend’s father, who allegedly found Shelton and the girl inside his trailer. Shelton allegedly assaulted his girlfriend’s father.

Soon after that, Whiteley said, Shelton called 911 to turn himself in. During that call, police asked to speak to the child.

“I don’t know where my house is,” the girl told a dispatcher in audio provided by police. “I want to go home.”

Shelton, in the phone call, directs police to his location near a convenience store, about 10 miles south of Poplar Bluff. The audio ends with police ordering him out of the vehicle.

“He knew he wasn’t going to get out of the area without us finding him, so he gave up,” Whiteley said.

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