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Girls hold clues to catch kidnappers
For 25 hours the two sisters gone, who took them, where they went and what happened to 12-year-old Fannie and 6-year-old Delilia Miller remained a mystery Friday evening.
Cold, wet with rain and hungry, the girls showed up on the steps of a couple's home in Richville, about 15 miles from where they were abducted. Reunited with their family in the Amish community in St. Lawrence County Thursday night, this story is still far from over.
"We're looking for the perpetrators of the crime and we're not going to give out any details of the investigation," St. Lawrence County Sheriff Kevin Wells said at a briefing Friday.
Tightlipped about the case, the Sheriff Wells said the two girls are in good health but he would not say if the girls suffered any injuries.
Director of Services and Programs at Bivona Child Advocacy Center, Anna Potter said, "We don't know the specifics, I have no idea if there was physical, sexual, any kind of abuse but a lot of it the recovery is support, so if someone says your fine-someone is going to stop and they're going bottle that up."
Bivona is a collaboration of agencies that works on the most complicated and sensitive investigations in Monroe County, those that involve child victims.
"I don't care if you're six or 36, being taken out of your environment, that's a very unsafe, insecure feeling and scary," Potter said, "just worrying about if they're going to see their families again."
One can only assume the kind of emotional trauma the girls have been through but the Miller sisters hold the clues, the key information that could help investigators find their kidnappers.
Potter said, "It really is in the hands of the girls and the families on what they choose to do next but it's, hopefully services are being offered so that they can make choices that will put them on a road to recovery as quickly as possible."
St. Lawrence does not have a child advocacy center but Potter said in situations like this, investigators often bring in outside experts to help kids open up during interviews and really get the information they need to solve the case. "In order to pursue this case and get it through prosecution they have to involve experts," Potter said.
While Sheriff Wells would not discuss the specifics, he said they've pulled out all the stops to tap into resources from the surrounding areas. Sheriff Wells said, "Different agencies bring different items to the table that we don't possess as an agency so we're utilizing all the assets and if there is anything we need, everything is on the table."
Investigators also have to work around cultural difference and language barriers for this case. Sheriff Wells said, "We're always conscious of the Amish ways and the Amish rules and we work with the family around that."
In order to find and build a strong case against the suspects, Potter said specialists trained to interview children will help draw out important information and help the girls start to heal from whatever trauma they encountered.
In the meantime, investigators continue to ask for the public's help but again, with few details to share Sheriff Wells remained vague with what or who they are looking for.
"We all should be aware of who are neighbors are, we all should be aware of activity that seems strange, seems out of the ordinary, anything that just doesn't fit." Wells said, "There are a lot of things out there that if people just sit back and look at the oddity of it, maybe they can see they need to make a phone call to us."
The sheriff said they are investigating in St. Lawrence County but are following leads elsewhere, actively pursuing this investigation.