Amish to build garage for pair who returned girls

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Amish to build garage for pair who returned girls
These images provided by the St. Lawrence County Sheriff's Office shows the booking photo of Stephen Howells II, left, and Nicole Vaisey, who was arraigned late Friday Aug. 15, 2014 on charges they intended to physically harm or sexually abuse two Amish sisters after abducting them from a roadside farm stand. (AP Photo/St. Lawrence County Sheriff)
This image provided by the St. Lawrence County Sheriff's Office shows the booking photo of Stephen Howells II, 39, who was arraigned late Friday Aug. 15, 2014 on charges he intended to physically harm or sexually abuse two Amish sisters after abducting them from a roadside farm stand. (AP Photo/St. Lawrence County Sheriff)
This image provided by the St. Lawrence County Sheriff's Office shows the booking photo of Nicole Vaisey, 25, who was arraigned late Friday Aug. 15, 2014 on charges she intended to physically harm or sexually abuse two Amish sisters after abducting them from a roadside farm stand. (AP Photo/St. Lawrence County Sheriff)
This undated artist rendering provided by the St. Lawrence County Sheriff's Office in Canton, N.Y. via the Watertown Daily Times shows 12-year-old Fannie Miller. Miller and her six-year-old sister, Delila, vanished from a roadside vegetable stand near their home in Oswegatchie, N.Y. after a white car pulled up to the farm stand on Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014 around 7:30 p.m. The Amish sisters were dressed in dark blue dresses with blue aprons and black bonnets. (AP Photo/St. Lawrence County Sheriff's Office)
Two Amish sisters have been kidnapped in upstate New York. Authorities say Fannie Miller, 12, and Delila Miller, 7, were taken from this roadside farm stand about 50 miles east of Watertown. Photo courtesy of WSYR-TV
The sisters went missing at about 7:30 p.m. Wednesday evening, police said. Anyone with information is urged to call 911. Photo courtesy of WSYR-TV
Lawrence County sheriff’s deputies escort Nicole Vaisey to her preliminary hearing Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014, at town court in Fowler, N.Y. Vaisey and her boyfriend are accused of abducting and sexually abusing a pair of young Amish sisters on Wednesday, Aug. 13, before releasing them the following day. (AP Photo/Mike Virtanen)
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RICHVILLE, N.Y. (AP) -- The Amish are famous for their barn raisings, when an entire community turns out to help a neighbor.

In northern New York, members of an extended Amish family plan to hold a "garage raising" for the couple who returned two kidnapped Amish girls to their home.

Jeffrey and Pamela Stinson tell the Watertown Daily Times ( http://bit.ly/1l8vUYL ) that the garage at their home in St. Lawrence County recently burned down while they were on vacation in Maine. The fire was believed to have been started by a stray cat knocking over a battery jumpstart box inside.

Earlier this month, the Stinsons were shocked when two Amish girls knocked on the front door of their home in Richville, about 15 miles from where police say the girls, ages 7 and 12, were abducted while tending to their family's roadside farm stand in Oswegatchie, on the Canadian border.

The Stinsons said the girls were cold, wet and so hungry that they quickly consumed a watermelon Jeffrey had just picked from the family's garden. The girls then asked to be driven to their home. After a brief discussion with his wife on how to proceed, Stinson decided it was best to take them home rather than call police.

"We never gave it any thought about implications or dangers," he said. "We knew they had to get home."

Two days after the girls were abducted on Aug. 13, police arrested a local couple and charged them with kidnapping. Police said Nicole Vaisey, 25, and Stephen Howells Jr., 39, of nearby Hermon, used a dog to lure the girls into the couple's car.

The girls, who authorities say were sexually abused, were released a day after being abducted when Vaisey and Howells were apparently spooked by an intense police investigation and media coverage, authorities said. The Associated Press isn't naming the Amish family members because it generally doesn't identify victims of sexual abuse.

The family plans to build the Stinsons a new garage later this week. The victims, their 11 siblings, parents, grandparents and other relatives are expected to be on hand, Stinson said.

The girls' father told Stinson that he would be offended if he could not help rebuild the garage.

"They won't take no for an answer," he said.

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