Official: Amish girls sexually abused in abduction

Published on NewsOK Modified: August 16, 2014 at 9:49 pm •  Published: August 16, 2014
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CANTON, N.Y. (AP) — Two young Amish sisters were sexually abused after their abduction from a roadside farm stand in northern New York, a prosecutor said Saturday.

St. Lawrence County District Attorney Mary Rain's disclosure came hours after the county's sheriff said the couple charged in the kidnapping were prowling for easy targets and may have planned to abduct other children.

Stephen Howells Jr. and Nicole Vaisey, both of Hermon, were arrested and arraigned Friday on charges they abducted the 7-year-old and 12-year-old sisters with the intent to physically or sexually abuse them.

"We felt that there was the definite potential that there was going to be other victims," St. Lawrence County Sheriff Kevin Wells said.

The sisters were abducted Wednesday from the farm stand in front of the family's home in Oswegatchie, near the Canadian border. They were set free by their captors about 24 hours later and turned up safe at the door of a house 15 miles from where they were taken.

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."

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