Sheriff: Pair may have plotted to kidnap more kids
CANTON, N.Y. – A couple accused of kidnapping two young Amish sisters were prowling for easy targets and may have also planned to abduct other children, a sheriff said Saturday.
Stephen Howells Jr. and Nicole Vaisey, both of Hermon, were arrested Friday on charges they snatched the 7-year-old and 12-year-old girls from a roadside farm stand in front of their home near the Canadian border.
St. Lawrence County Sheriff Kevin Wells said at a news conference Saturday that more charges may be filed and that investigators are looking into whether the pair had plotted or carried out other abductions.
“We felt that there was the definite potential that there was going to be other victims,” Wells said.
The sisters were abducted Wednesday from their family’s farm stand in Oswegatchie and were set free by their captors Thursday.
Howells and Vaisey were arraigned late Friday on charges of first-degree kidnapping with the intent to physically harm or sexually abuse the victims.
The sheriff said Howells, 39, and Vaisey, 25, “were targeting opportunities” and did not necessarily grab the girls because they were Amish.
“There was a lot of thought process that went into this,” Wells said. “They were looking for opportunities to victimize.”