Abducted Mo. girl found alive, sex offender in custody

Abby Berthoff, 5 CBS St. Louis

(CBS) POPLAR BLUFF, MO.- Poplar Bluff police have confirmed that just before 2 p.m., 5-year-old Abigail Berthoff was found alive after reportedly being taken from her home by a registered sex offender, CBS St. Louis reports.

The suspect, Jeffrey Shelton, is in custody 10 miles southwest of Poplar Bluff.

Officials told the station that Abigail was undergoing evaluation but that no sign of sexual assault had been reported. Shelton is being questioned by police.

Police were first called in reference to a missing child this morning; the girl was reportedly taken from a couch in the living room of her home at around 6:50 a.m. People then reported seeing the 46-year-old Shelton with the child at another residence  in the morning. Shelton and the girl lived about a mile apart in Poplar Bluff.

At a press conference Wednesday afternoon, officials offered few details in the case but urged Shelton to drop the five-year-old off safely at a hospital, police department or elsewhere.

Less than thirty minutes later, Poplar police confirmed that Abigail Berthoff had been found alive and that the suspect was in custody.

Oct. 24, 2012 - Abigail Berthoff, missing Mo. girl, believed abducted by sex offender, officials say