An upstate New York couple has been arraigned on charges of intent to physically harm or sexually abuse two Amish sisters after abducting them from a roadside farm stand Wednesday.
Stephen Howells II, 39, and Nicole Vaisey, 25, both of Hermon, were charged late Friday with two counts of first-degree kidnapping, which could carry a penalty of 25 years to life in prinson. Howells and Vaisey appeared in court, but are being held without bond.
The 7-year-old and 12-year-old disappeared Wednesday, but turned up safe about 24 hours later after their kidnappers dropped them off in nearby Richville, where the sisters knocked on a stranger's door for help.
The older sister provided crucial information in tracking down the kidnappers, according to local authorities, who have declined to provide more details.
"The suspects agreed to go to the sheriff's office to be interviewed earlier today and they were arrested after those interviews," District Attorney Mary Rain said Friday.
Howells and Vaisey have a preliminary hearing Thursday.
UPDATE, 1:07p.m.: St. Lawrence County Sheriff Kevin Wells said at a Saturday news conference that more charges may be filed against the couple and that other abductions may have been in the works: "We felt that there was the definite potential that there was going to be other victims," said Wells.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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