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Delaware County judge dismisses kidnapping charge in decade-old case

Kidnapping case dismissed

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Sheila York in February was arrested and accused of kidnapping the child of her deceased husband.

This week, a Delaware County judge dismissed the charges.

York was accused of taking the child to Florida and North Carolina. The judge dismissed the kidnapping case on the grounds that the statute of limitations — the maximum amount of time that she could be charged with a crime — had expired.

Her lawyer also argues that a crime was not committed in the first place. “So, in essence, this was a case that really stemmed from the disappearance of of a young woman named Ashley Mullis,” said York’s attorney, Russell Cate.

Mullis was last seen in October 2013, a short time after she gave birth to a child fathered by York’s husband. Daniel York’s name appeared in the child’s birth certificate; however, paternity was never proven.

According to the probable cause, York was not aware of her husband’s affair.

Two years after the child was born, the Yorks moved to Florida and took the child with them.

Daniel York died in September 2015 around the same time the baby’s maternal grandparents were asking for visitation rights.

Investigators claim that Sheila York kidnapped the child, interfered with the investigation, and lied to police.

Sheila York’s lawyer says otherwise. Cate said, “My clients and biological father moved to Florida with the child and then when he passed away my client adopted, as to become her mother.” 

Investigators didn’t buy the argument that Sheila York adopted the child and, since paternity hadn’t been proven, according to the probable cause, police issued an arrest warrant for York earlier this year.

Sheila York was arrested in North Carolina and transferred to Delaware County. Online court records show she lives in Weaverville, a western North Carolina town that’s north of Asheville.

Cate said, “From a defense perspective, we view that the charges against Sheila York is nothing more than an attempt to gain information into the whereabouts of Ashley Mullis. That seems to be supported by some of the public interviews given by Ashley Mullis’ father and law enforcement during their investigation of this case. So, we think this is nothing more than an attempt by law enforcement and the state of Indiana to smoke out information out of my client on an investigation she had nothing to do with.”

Sheila York was connected to the disappearance of Ashley Mullis but was never criminally charged or named a person of interest in the case.

Delaware County Prosecutor Eric Hoffman says he plans to appeal the judge’s decision. “The dismissal was not based upon the merits of the case. It was based upon a procedural on the timing of the filing of the charge.”

The Indiana Attorney General’s Office will have the final say whether to appeal the judge’s ruling.