Amish Girls Abducted: Two People Charged
Ellisha Rader Mannering
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Two young Amish girls were abducted from a vegetable stand in upstate New York last Wednesday.
Many people gathered to search for the girls, but had trouble because of a lack of photos of them.
Witnesses said that the two girls, ages six and 12, were helping a customer in a four-door sedan when they disappeared.
The girls were missing for 24 hours before their abductors decided to set them free.
They dropped the young girls off on the roadside nearly 15 miles from where they were taken and 40 miles from their home.
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The girls walked to the first house they saw and told the strangers what had happened to them. The strangers drove them to their home where they were reunited with their family. Police were already at their home and were able to work quickly to get answers from the girls.
The officers said that the girls were very cooperative and informative and told them exactly what had happened to them. The police were able to find the suspects fairly quickly and arrested Stephen M. Howells II, 39, and his girlfriend Nicole F. Vaisey, 25, on kidnapping charges. Both are being held without bond and could face federal charges as well.
Police also believe that the girls may have been sexually abused by their abductors and think that the couple had planned to abduct more children. They do not think the girls were chosen because they are Amish, but rather because they were an easy target and could be taken quickly.
“We felt that there was the definite potential that there was going to be other victims,” St. Lawrence County Sheriff Kevin Wells said.
The sheriff praised the girls for their bravery and willingness to cooperate with the police and talk about the experience.
“We have two strong young girls,” Wells said. “The reason we’re able to make an arrest tonight is because of just how strong they are and things they’re able to remember.”
Police towed two cars from the couple’s home and were investigating the residence for clues related to the abduction.