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More charges planned against Amish-kidnap suspects

CANTON, N.Y. (AP) - More charges are expected soon against a northern New York couple accused of kidnapping two young Amish sisters and sexually abusing them, a prosecutor said Sunday.

Computer hard drives and other potential evidence are still being collected Sunday from the home of Stephen Howells Jr. and Nicole Vaisey, said Mary Rain, district attorney for St. Lawrence County.

The pair was arrested Friday and charged with kidnapping with the intent to physically or sexually abuse the 7-year-old and 12-year-old sisters. Authorities say the couple prowled for easy targets and sexually abused the girls before letting them go after about 24 hours.

Howells, 39, and Vaisey, 25, are being held without bail and have a preliminary court appearance scheduled for Thursday.

"I 100 percent expect more charges," Rain told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. She said the new charges, which she would not detail, could come after she meets with police investigators Monday or at the hearing Thursday. It's also possible prosecutors would have to wait for results from forensic tests.

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

There was no answer Sunday at the St. Lawrence County Conflict Defender's Office, which is representing Howells.

Vaisey's lawyer, Bradford Riendeau told The New York Times that she was in an abusive and submissive relationship with Howells. He said she made a "voluntary statement" to investigators after her arrest and was obtaining an order of protection against him.

"She appears to have been the slave and he was the master," Riendeau told the newspaper.

Rain said Vaisey is just as culpable as Howells.

St. Lawrence County Sheriff Kevin Wells said the girls were able to provide details to investigators about their time in captivity.

The Associated Press generally does not identify victims of sexual abuse and is not naming the girls.

The kidnappings touched off a massive search in the family's remote farming community. Searchers scoured the community of about 4,000 people but were hampered by a lack of photos of the girls.

The Amish typically avoid modern technology, and the family had to work with an artist who spoke their language, a German dialect known as Pennsylvania Dutch, to produce a sketch of the older girl.

Couple Who Helped Kidnapped Amish Girls Speaks Out

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Jo Lavender August 28 2014 at 9:33 PM

So this pathetic excuse for a female is copping out on the fall-back position of "I am a co-dependent; I was afraid of him; I was his virtual slave" defense. BAH! A safe and secure women's shelter is as close as a phone call. 911 works. Psychotherapy is free to welfare patients under their state and federally funded health programs. What a CROCK.

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Pomeria Jo Lavender August 29 2014 at 12:30 AM

Jo, Unfortunately a safe and secure women's shelter is not always that close. I don;t know the current wait list time where I live now, but a few years ago, the wait time for women to get into a safe place to stay was up to 6 months. That was 6 months after they were trying to leave an abuser. They can get concussions/brain damage etc. in those 6 months. And often the children have to witness the abuse. But if the woman has an alcohol or drug problem, she can get into a shelter much faster. Not fair. Some cities all the police can do is offer to take you to a relative, if you have one in the area, and drive by your place occasionally, if you have to stay where you are as no relative/friend where you can go. Not much security in that.

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Carol Pomeria August 29 2014 at 8:38 AM

pomeria - It almost sounds like you're making excuses for this low life, despicable woman. There is NO excuse. She wasn't living in chains.

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Elizabeth Pomeria August 29 2014 at 11:16 AM

Im from that area and there is NO wait list for a place for battered and abused women...There are several houses used to house them and their children and if they are full you are put up in a hotel....

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Dan Jo Lavender August 29 2014 at 11:16 AM

Baloney, Pomeria! I bet her lawyer advised her to play the "he made me do it" do it. Didn't this man ever go to work or to the store and leave her home alone? Didn't she ever leave house alone to go shopping? Either way she had opportunities to get away from him and go to a shelter or to police for help. Her husband wasn't with her 24 & 7, was he? Sorry, but if she was really an innocent victim she could've & should've done something other than cooperating with him. ♣

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DJ August 29 2014 at 1:10 AM

I agree with everyone saying death penalty, it's a nice fantasy. The reality? They'll both do time, get paroled, and go right back to doing it. After they register as sex offenders. Because we all know what a deterent that is...

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kambanks August 29 2014 at 7:36 AM

Punishment is too lenient in this country for child predators and they cannot be rehabilitated. Yesterday, in my beautiful, "safe" little town a man was caught fondling himself after following a young teen into a laundromat. They let him out on bail even though he is to appear in court on the exact same charge in another town in two weeks. Sick!

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2 replies
lunasfirstmate kambanks August 29 2014 at 8:10 AM

Years ago on our family farm in Southern MD, my father had hired an old neighborly man to held strip tobacco. Anyway, my mom had fixed him lunch & I was taking it down to the barn to him and came up on him outside taking a leake...He saw me an immediately said, come her "pretty girl"...I ran like hell back to the house and didn't tell anyone...I was only eleven....

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road runner kambanks August 29 2014 at 11:22 AM

Why is it that all of these offenders are ugly as hell. And, why is it that they do this in pairs. I say feed their asses to the fish.

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yamel86 August 18 2014 at 6:23 PM


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buddwhyzr August 28 2014 at 10:55 PM

Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dumb

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1 reply
riognach buddwhyzr August 29 2014 at 10:05 AM

And the judge, who will impose a sentence far too light, will be Tweedle Dummer.

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hislonv August 29 2014 at 12:02 AM

Speedy trial. Guilty. Death sentence. Appeal denied. Bang! Bang!

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MaximaDecima August 18 2014 at 8:12 PM


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Welcome King August 28 2014 at 9:29 PM

Off to jail they do.

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Carol August 29 2014 at 8:55 AM

What's the hold up on charges? Seems like there's been more than enough time. The sooner they're in with the prison population, the sooner REAL justice can begin.

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