Girl missing since 2019 found alive in secret room. In a first, Sandy Hook families announce $73M settlement with gunmaker Remington. Russia says it’s withdrawing Ukraine troops; U.S., Ukraine skeptical.
New York State: Girl missing since 2019 found alive in secret room
Police in Ulster County, NY, have recovered Paislee Shultis, 6, who had been missing since 2019. Paislee’s birth parents Kimberly Cooper, 33, and Kirk Shultis Jr., 32, who do not have legal custody of her, had been hiding her in a house in Saugerties, NY. The house belonged to Kirk Shultis’ father, who claimed not to know where Paislee was.
Though police had reason to believe that Paislee’s parents were behind her disappearance, numerous previous searches of this property had yielded nothing. On Monday, police once again responded to an anonymous tip that Paislee could be found at the house. When police arrived, they again initially found nothing. But one of the detectives noticed that the stairs leading to the basement were oddly constructed.
The officers removed several boards, revealing Paislee and Ms. Cooper hiding in a “small, cold, and wet” enclosure. Despite the ordeal, Paislee was in good health. Neighbors had no idea that the little girl was at the residence.
While police were taking Paislee to the station, they passed a McDonald’s. Paislee said she had not had McDonald’s in a long time, so officers turned around and bought her a happy meal.
Ms. Cooper, Kirk Shultis Jr. and Kirk Shultis Sr. were arrested and charged with custodial interference and child endangerment. Paislee was returned to her legal guardians, where she was reunited with her older sister. The reasons that Paislee’s parents lost custody of her have not been made public.
In a first, Sandy Hook families announce $73M settlement with gunmaker Remington
It’s been nearly a decade since Adam Lanza, 20, gunned down 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary with a Bushmaster AR-15 rifle. Twenty of Lanza’s victims were children between 6 and 7 years old; the other 6 were adult school staff members.
Since 2014, nine families of the 26 victims have been fighting a protracted legal battle to hold Remington Arms, makers of the Bushmaster rifle, accountable. The plaintiffs faced seemingly insurmountable obstacles, not least of which was the 2005 Federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA). PLCAA gives gunmakers broad legal immunity in the event that their guns are used in a violent crime.
The families argued that Remington’s marketing of the military-style assault weapons to insecure, at-risk young men like Lanza (with slogans like “Consider Your Man Card Reissued”) demonstrated a desire to amp sales with no regard for the consequences. A judge agreed that these reckless marketing tactics are not protected by PLCAA and allowed the families’ suit to go ahead.
Yesterday, the families announced that they had agreed to a $73 million settlement with Remington. Since Remington has filed twice for bankruptcy, the payout will come from Remington’s insurers. This is the first time a gun manufacturer has been held legally responsible for a mass shooting.
Russia says it is withdrawing troops from Ukraine border; Ukraine, U.S. and NATO skeptical
Yesterday, Vladimir Putin announced a partial withdrawal of Russian troops from the Ukrainian border. A day later, Ukrainian, U.S., and NATO officials say they have yet to see any evidence of this on the ground. Western intelligence sources say Russia has positioned as many as 150,000 troops around Ukraine’s borders. As many as 30,000 of those are in Belarus where Russia says it is conducting pre-planned joint drills with Belorussian troops. Those drills are scheduled to end Feb. 20, and observers are waiting to see whether the Russian troops will in fact leave that day.
Meanwhile, Russia continues to engage in cyber warfare, targeting Ukrainian banks and government infrastructure. Some speculate that Russia’s objective with both the troop presence and cyber attacks is simply to wear down the Ukrainian populace and undermine its government.
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