Suspects arrested in kidnapping of 2 Amish girls - FOX 35 News Orlando

Suspects arrested in kidnapping of 2 Amish girls

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Stephen Howells Jr. Stephen Howells Jr.
25-year-old Nicole Vaisey 25-year-old Nicole Vaisey
NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

A New York couple is under arrest after two young Amish sisters were abducted earlier this week.

Police say the suspects had the potential to kidnap more children but the sisters' quick thinking and some help from a neighbor prevented that.

39-year-old Stephen Howells Jr. and 25-year-old Nicole Vaisey are behind bars and charged with the kidnapping of two Amish girls, among a slew of other charges.

Investigators say the young girls helped them track the couple down.

Police issued an Amber Alert and launched a massive search effort. The next day, police say the couple dropped the girls off and told them to stay put.

Instead, they ran to a nearby house, where a neighbor, Jeff Stinson recognized the girls, fed them, and drove them home.

Police say it appears the suspects intended to harm the two young girls.

But, now, thanks to a community-wide effort, a potentially tragic story has a happy ending.

The suspects are being held without bail until a preliminary hearing.

St. Lawrence County Sheriff Kevin Wells said at a news conference Saturday that investigators are looking into whether the pair had plotted or carried out other abductions.

"We felt that there was the definite potential that there was going to be other victims," Wells said.

The Sheriff said Howells, 39, and Vaisey, 25, "were targeting opportunities" and did not necessarily grab the girls because they were Amish.

"There was a lot of thought process that went into this," wells said. "They were looking for opportunities to victimize."

The Amish typically avoid modern technology, and the family had to work with an artist who spoke their language, a German dialect known as Pennsylvania Dutch, to produce a sketch of the older girl.

More charges are expected soon against the northern New York couple accused of kidnapping two young Amish sisters and sexually abusing them.

Computer hard drives and other potential evidence are still being collected Sunday from the home of Stephen Howells Jr. and Nicole Vaisey, said Mary Rain, district attorney for St. Lawrence County.

The pair was arrested Friday and charged with kidnapping with the intent to physically or sexually abuse the 7-year-old and 12-year-old sisters. Authorities say the couple prowled for easy targets and sexually abused the girls before letting them go after about 24 hours.


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