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Father of abducted Amish girls sorry for suspects

Published on NewsOK Modified: August 18, 2014 at 5:19 pm •  Published: August 18, 2014

OSWEGATCHIE, N.Y. (AP) — The father of two Amish girls abducted last week said he feels sorry for the man and the woman authorities say kidnapped and sexually abused them before letting them go.

The parents of the 7- and 12-year-old sisters spoke to the Johnson Newspapers at their home in Oswegatchie on Sunday, two days after Stephen Howells Jr. and Nicole Vaisey were charged with kidnapping with the intent to physically or sexually abuse the girls.

"It's sad," the 44-year-old father said. "They must have ruined their whole life."

The Associated Press is not naming the family members because it generally does not identify people who may have been victims of sexual abuse.

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

Howells and Vaisey were arrested Friday. Authorities say the couple sexually abused the girls before letting them go. St. Lawrence County District Attorney Mary Rain has said additional charges are likely as early as this week.

On Monday, she said Howells had waived his right to a hearing before any grand jury presentation. She said a preliminary hearing for Vaisey was still scheduled for Thursday.

St. Lawrence County Sheriff Kevin Wells said Monday that investigators have finished gathering evidence at the home Howells and Vaisey share. He said that it will take time to go through that information and that there had been no decision to file additional charges ahead of the hearing.

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