A few days ago we were horrified, and then relieved, to find out that two young Amish sisters had been kidnapped from their home in northern New York, but that they were able to get away from their captors and return to their parents. There were quite a few holes in the case -- we knew they had been taken while working at their family's roadside vegetable stand, but we couldn't fathom why the kidnappers suddenly dropped Fannie Miller, 12, and Delila Miller, 6, off in Richville -- a town located 36 miles away from their home.
Well, today we have a few more answers -- and, most importantly, two suspects. A father of three and his girlfriend have been arrested and charged in connection with the kidnappings. And, according to police, what they had planned to do with the little girls couldn't be any more disturbing.
Stephen Howells II, 39, and his 25-year-old girlfriend Nicole Vaisey were arrested last night at their home 20 miles away from where the Miller girls were found this week. They've been charged with two counts of first-degree kidnapping, as well as intending to sexually abuse or physically harm the girls. They could face 25 years to life in prison if convicted.
Not a whole lot is known about these two, whom neighbors say are a couple. But they've also reported that three children live in the home, and Howells' Facebook page show him with three children, alongside captions like, "Father's day kickball." It isn't clear whether Vaisey is the mother of the children.
The sisters disappeared this week after they reportedly went up to the suspects' car to greet them while working at the vegetable stand. No one is sure why, but they were then reportedly driven to a home in Richville and told to stay in the car while they got out for unknown reasons. The girls bravely escaped and knocked on a neighbor's door. He says he recognized them from news reports, fed them, and drove them back to their home in Oswegatchie.
The girls were reportedly able to provide police with enough information to lead them to Howells II and Vaisey. The couple agreed to go to the sheriff's office to be questioned and were arrested after their interviews. We still have no idea what, if anything, was done to the girls between the time they were abducted and rescued, but St. Lawrence Distict Attorney Mary Rain says the couple's arrest "saved young children from future abuse at the hands of these two."
More from The Stir: 2 Abducted Amish Sisters Found Alive in New York
Hoping we find out these girls were not harmed during their time away from home. And, if these two are convicted, they deserve to be put away for a long, long time.
Are you surprised that a young couple was arrested in connection with this kidnapping?
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