Arrests Made in Kidnapping of New York Amish Girls

PHOTO: Supporters gather on the porch of a house at the intersection of Route 812 and Mt. Alone Road
Share
Copy

Police have arrested a man and woman in connection with the kidnapping of two Amish girls from their family's roadside vegetable stand.

Stephen Howells II, 39, and Nicole Vaisey, 25, both of the same address in Hermon, New York, were charged with two counts of first-degree kidnapping, St. Lawrence County District Attorney Mary Rain told ABC News tonight. No further details were provided. A news conference was set for 8 a.m. ET Saturday to discuss the case.

The girls showed up on the doorstep of Jeff and Pam Stinson barefoot, cold, wet and hungry Thursday night, the couple told ABC News earlier today.

The Stinsons opened their door to the two girls, Delila Miller, 6, and Fannie Miller, 12, who asked the couple to drive them back home. The Stinsons said they recognized the girls because they had bought produce from them before and were aware of news reports about their abduction.

According to police, the sisters were abducted Wednesday night in Oswegatchie, New York, a rural town located near the Canadian border, when they went out to sell vegetables to a car at the stand. They were then dropped off later near the Stinson's house, authorities said.

Authorities held a news conference today about the abduction but refused to give details about the incident other than to say that they are still investigating and the Miller girls appeared to be healthy.

Missing Amish Girls Found Alive in New York

Cops: 'Numerous Leads' in Search for 2 Amish Girls

When the girls arrived on their doorstep, the Stinsons fed them watermelon and grape juice and the girls were so hungry they couldn't stop eating the watermelon.

"They ate that watermelon in 30 seconds. It was fast," said Jeff Stinson.

Jeff Stinson knew exactly where the two girls lived because he had bought corn from the elder girl before at their vegetable stand.

At one point on the return home, the girls ducked in the back seat because they saw the kidnapper's red car pulled over by the side of the road, the Stinsons said.

An Amber Alert had been issued Wednesday night after a witness reported seeing a vehicle pull up to the stand, the girls go out to wait on them, and then the driver of the car put something in the backseat. When the car drove away, the witness told police the children were gone.

The sisters were dropped off in the town of Richville, about 36 miles from where they were abducted, District Attorney Mary Rain said. The girls walked to the closest home and the man who opened the door, Jeff Stinson, immediately knew who the girls were because of news reports.

"The girls walked up to a stranger's house, thank goodness they had enough courage to do that, knocked on the door, and that person took them home," Rain said.

The two young girls have been reunited with their family. They "seem to be healthy," but were "cold and wet," the Rain told ABC News, and that they are being interviewed by authorities.

Rain said the sisters were still wearing Amish attire when they were found. She also said that more than one person may have been involved in the girls' abduction.

ABC News' Alyssa Newcomb contributed to this report.

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...
See It, Share It
PHOTO: Patrick Crawford is pictured in this photo from his Facebook page.
Meteorologist Patrick Crawford KCEN/Facebook
Kate Middleton Learns Sign Language
Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images
PHOTO: George Stinney Jr., the youngest person ever executed in South Carolina, in 1944, is seen in this undated file photo.
South Carolina Department of Archives and History/AP Photo
PHOTO: Johns Hopkins University sent nearly 300 acceptance emails to students who had actually been denied.
Kim Hairston/Baltimore Sun/Getty Images