Image: Donnie Lee Shelton
Whitley County Detention Center
Donnie Lee Shelton was arrested and charged with being a fugitive from another state when he took his daughter to a hospital in Kentucky.
msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 11/24/2010 10:02:42 AM ET 2010-11-24T15:02:42

A South Carolina girl abducted by her dad following a custody dispute faked stomach pains so that he would take her to a hospital where she could be rescued, police said.

Donnie Lee Shelton brought his 8-year-old daughter to the emergency room at Baptist Regional Medical Center early Tuesday in Corbin in the central part of Kentucky, according to police.

A nurse became suspicious when the girl wouldn't make eye contact with her, so staffers checked the Amber Alert website, then called police at about 3:40 a.m., the Lexington Herald-Leader newspaper reported.

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Hospital official John Henson said the girl faked being sick after she saw a hospital sign.

"She feigned abdominal pain so that her dad would bring her to the emergency room when she saw a hospital sign," John Henson of Baptist Regional Medical Center said.

'I just thank God'
The 46-year-old Shelton was arrested and charged with being a fugitive from another state. The Herald-Leader reported that Shelton was wanted in South Carolina not only for the abduction of a child but also on charges of first-degree assault and battery.

The girl's mother, Kim Shelton, said her ex-husband barged into their home on Monday afternoon and took her, WYFF4 reported.

Interviewed by WYMT-TV at the jail, Shelton said he took his daughter in Pickens County, S.C., because he felt she was in danger.

The girl has been reunited with her mother.

"I just thank God," said Kim Shelton, according to WYFF4. "I absolutely have got something to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. I really do."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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