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Police: they wanted Amish girls as slaves

Updated: Friday, August 22 2014, 09:59 AM EDT

FOWLER, N.Y. (AP) -- An investigator says a northern New York couple used a dog to lure two Amish sisters from their family farm stand with a plan to turn them into slaves.

St. Lawrence County Sherriff's Sgt. Brooks Bigwarfe says Nicole Vaisey admitted she and boyfriend Stephen Howells Jr. got the girls to their car with an offer to pet the dog and he shoved the 7-year-old and 12-year-old sisters in.

Bigwarfe says she told him they shackled the girls and intended to turn them into slaves. He says they released the girls about 24 hours later, frightened by news reports.

Fowler Justice Paul Lamson ruled Thursday there's reasonable cause to believe Vaisey committed felony kidnapping. He ordered her held without bail.

District Attorney Mary Rain says the children were sexually abused by the "sexual predators."
Defense attorney Bradford Riendeau says Vaisey was Howells' slave.

Howells waived his right to a hearing.

Defense attorney Bradford Riendeau said Vaisey was Howells' slave.


"She was in a master-slave relationship," Riendeau said. "I believe she's not as culpable as he is."


The girls' kidnappings touched off a massive search in the Amish 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.

The parents, who have 14 children, did not express anger toward the suspects.


The girls' father said Thursday at his farm that they seemed to be doing well.

Police: they wanted Amish girls as slaves


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