Missouri AMBER Alert canceled; suspect caught, child in protective custody

POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. - Authorities have canceled an AMBER Alert for a 5-year-old Missouri girl who was apparently abducted overnight by a registered sex offender.  The suspect, who was thought to have been traveling to Oklahoma, has been taken into custody.

According to the online Missouri AMBER Alert portal, Abigail Berthoff was taken from her Poplar Bluff home between the hours of 10 p.m. Tuesday and 6 a.m. Wednesday.

The suspect was identified as 45-year-old Jeffrey Shelton. The relation between the two was not immediately clear.

Shelton is a registered sex offender. According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol Sex Offender Registry, he was convicted in 1990 of kidnapping, rape, attempted kidnapping and two counts of sodomy in Fort Hood, Texas.

Abigail is bi-racial with black hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing a pink princess night gown, KFVS reported, citing the Poplar Bluff Police Department.

Shelton is described as a white male, about 6 feet tall and 175 pounds. He has brown hair and green eyes.

Missouri Highway Patrol officials say Shelton is listed as having an Oklahoma license plate on the sex offender registry, though the plate on the vehicle he was believed to be driving is from Missouri.

Just before 2 p.m. Wednesday, the AMBER Alert was canceled after Missouri state troopers arrested Shelton.

Abigail was placed in protective custody.

No other details were immediately available.

Poplar Bluff is in southeastern Missouri, about 150 miles south of  St. Louis.

Print this article Back to Top