More charges expected against couple in kidnapping case of two Amish girls

Courtesy of the St. Lawrence County Sheriff
August 18, 2014

More charges are expected this week against a St. Lawrence county couple who allegedly kidnapped two Amish girls. The prosecutor in the case says the children were sexually assaulted after they were abducted from their family’s roadside stand Wednesday evening.

Police gathered potential evidence from the home of Stephen Howells II and Nicole Vaisey of Hermon yesterday. The pair was arrested Friday night on charges of first-degree kidnapping with intent to harm two Amish girls, ages 6 and 12.

At a Saturday morning press conference, St. Lawrence County Sheriff Kevin Wells said Howells and Vaisey didn’t know the children. But he alleged they were prowling for easy targets.

"They were targeting opportunities. It wouldn’t have had to been just an Amish child," says Wells. "The motive was to victimize, to take these girls from their home and victimize these girls.

St. Lawrence County district attorney Mary Rain later said that “interviews with the girls and the suspects” provided evidence the children had been sexually assaulted.

The girls were captured when they attended to what they thought were clients of their roadside vegetable stand Wednesday night. They were set free by their kidnappers about 24 hours later and turned up safe at a house about 15 miles away.

The abduction rocked the large Amish community and its neighbors in this very rural part of the North Country.

A preliminary court hearing for Howells and Vaisey is scheduled for Thursday in the St. Lawrence County town of Fowler.