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New York couple arrested in girls’ kidnapping

August 16, 2014

ALBANY, New York (AP) — A New York couple was arrested Friday in the kidnapping of two young sisters from their family’s roadside farm stand that led to a manhunt along the U.S.-Canada border.

St. Lawrence County’s District Attorney Mary Rain said 39-year-old Stephen Howells II and Nicole Vaisey, 25, were each charged with two counts of first-degree kidnapping.

She said they were in custody awaiting arraignment and additional charges were possible.

Rain declined to discuss a motive for the abduction.

Seven-year-old Delila Miller and 12-year-old Fannie Miller vanished Wednesday evening in Oswegatchie, touching off a massive search in the farming community near the Canadian border. They turned up safe Thursday night at the door of a house 15 miles (24 kilometers) from their home.

Rain said she would not release more details before a news conference Saturday morning.

The hunt for the girls was hampered by a lack of photos. Their traditional Amish community typically avoids 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 girls routinely took on the chore of selling the fruits, vegetables, jams and other products of the farm and had left the rest of their family during evening milking when they saw the car at the stand.

Patricia Ritchie, the state senator representing the region, said the Amish are responding in a way that may forever change a familiar feature of the local landscape: Some are taking down their roadside stands.

“This has sent a shockwave through their community,” she said

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