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The Star Press
Kidnapping case tied to Muncie woman's disappearance dismissed by judge
By Douglas Walker, Muncie Star Press,
MUNCIE, Ind. — A kidnapping case tied to the 2013 disappearance of Ashley Morris Mullis was dismissed on Wednesday.
Delaware Circuit Court 4 Judge John Feick granted a motion by defense attorneys to drop charges of kidnapping and obstruction of justice filed in January against 67-year-old Sheila L. York, now of Weaverville, North Carolina.
Mullis, a Muncie resident and the mother of three children, has not been seen by friends and family members since September 2013.
The youngest of Mullis' three children, still a baby at the time of her mother's disappearance, was reportedly fathered by Daniel York Sr.
The charges against Sheila Morris, the wife of Daniel York, stemmed from actions she allegedly took to retain custody of Mullis' daughter for the past decade.
Daniel York died in 2015. Investigators with the Delaware County Sheriff's Department acknowledge they have looked into allegations York was responsible for Mullis' disappearance.
In November 2020, a related search was conducted on property along Delaware County Road 725-W that had been owned by the York family.
In a motion to dismiss filed in May by Sheila York's attorneys — Kelly Bryan of Muncie and Russell Cates of Fishers — they contended, among other things, that the deadlines to file such charges against their client had expired.
"The mere fact a defendant lives out of state does not toll the statute of limitations," they wrote in a more recent filing.
"The state's biggest problem it continues to ignore is that Daniel York was (the child's) legal and biological father" the defense team added. "The state of Indiana cannot will a crime into existence."
Sheila York reportedly adopted the child while living in Florida. The child reportedly remains in her custody.
Ashley Morris Mullis' family members — including her father, Don Morris — have tried to keep her disappearance alive in the eyes of the public for the past decade. They have also pursued an opportunity to visit with Mullis' youngest child.
After Feick's ruling on Wednesday, Delaware County Prosecutor Eric Hoffman said, "We disagree with the ruling and are currently discussing the matter with the Indiana Attorney General's office to potentially pursue an appeal."
Douglas Walker is a news reporter at The Star Press. Contact him at 765-213-5851 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.