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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Missouri

Monday, July 15, 2013

Child Abductor Sentenced To 120 Years On Child Exploitation Charges

Cape Girardeau, MO: JEFFREY D. SHELTON, Poplar Bluff, MO, was sentenced to 120 years imprisonment on three felony charges, including attempted production of child pornography, production of child pornography and possession of child pornography.    He appeared Monday, July 15th, before U.S. District Judge Stephen N. Limbaugh, Jr. in Cape Girardeau.

At the time of his guilty plea, Shelton admitted that on the morning of October 24, 2012, he fled his Poplar Bluff residence with a five year old child he had abducted several hours earlier and left his cellular phone in the residence.  Prior to fleeing, Shelton physically assaulted his girlfriend.  A neighbor witnessed Shelton assaulting his girlfriend on the carport and called the police.  After Shelton fled, the girlfriend turned Shelton’s cell phone over to police upon their arrival.           

The examination of Shelton’s cell phone revealed content related to the five year old female.  Shelton used the phone to produce numerous videos of the child engaged in sexually explicit conduct.  The videos were produced at Shelton’s Poplar Bluff residence on October 24, 2012, in Butler County.  The examiner also discovered additional visual depictions involving another child victim, a ten-year-old female.  Shelton attempted to produce visual depictions of the ten year old engaged in sexually explicit conduct in October 2012, while traveling from a town in Butler County to a location in Ripley County.  During the offenses, Shelton threatened both child victims with serious bodily injury.

Shelton also admitted that on October 24, 2012, he possessed a hard drive that contained more than 200 graphic image files of children engaged in sexually explicit conduct.  The laptop containing the hard drive was found in his vehicle when he was arrested by authorities in Poplar Bluff.  

Finally, in August 1990, Shelton appeared at an Army Court-Martial in Fort Hood, Texas, and was found guilty of rape of a child under sixteen years of age.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol, the Poplar Bluff Police Department, the Ripley and Butler County Sheriff’s Departments, the Dexter Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Butler County Prosecutor’s Office are commended for their efforts to jointly investigate this case.  Assistant United States Attorney Abbie Crites-Leoni handled the prosecution for the Government.  

Updated March 19, 2015