Stephen Howells Jr. and Nicole Vaisey are a couple in update New York who have been arrested for allegedly kidnapping and sexually abusing two Amish girls, sisters, ages 12 and 7. The girls managed to escape and the couple is now being held on kidnapping charges and potentially may face additional charges.
The 39-year-old Stephen Howells Jr. and his girlfriend, 25-year-old Nicole Vaisey (mugshot photos above) — both residents of Town of Hermon in upstate New York — were arrested. They face charges for the alleged abduction of the two Amish sisters from their family’s roadside farm stand at their home in Oswegatchie which is located in upstate New York near the U.S.-Canada border.
According to 7 News, quoting law enforcement sources, investigators from St. Lawrence Sheriff’s Department sought a warrant to search the home where the couple resides. They were described by a neighbor as boyfriend-girlfriend. The report goes on to note the neighbor observed police activity on Friday, the day the couple was arrested. A red car at the home was eventually towed that same night.
The couple were initially questioned and then taken into custody regarding the abduction of the two Amish girls who, reportedly were driven to a home near Richville, New York. It is there that they escaped and sought refuge at a nearby house whose occupants recognized them as the children reported kidnapped and returned them to their home approximately 15 miles away.
Stephen Howells Jr. and Nicole Vaisey are being held without bail and charged with first degree kidnapping, which carries a 25 years to life prison sentence.
The next day, after the arrest was made, more details were made public via the St. Lawrence County Sheriff Kevin Wells. According to NBC News, he said that the couple had used ” “coercion tactics” to abduct the girls. He also said “there was the definite potential” of more victims and that the couple might face additional charges including federal kidnapping charges.
Information from the two abducted girls helped lead authorities to Howells and Vaisey. Additionally NBC News reports that according to the St. Lawrence County’s District Attorneys office, the girls were sexually assaulted.
According to The State, Nicole Vaisey’s lawyer, Bradford Riendeau told The New York Times thatStephen Howells had been abusing Vaisey and treating her as a submissive. Additionally, Vaisey is obtaining an order of production from Howells and also made a ‘voluntary statement’ to investigators. The lawyer is quted as saying, ‘She appears to have been the slave and he was the master.’
Howells is reportedly a nurse at Claxton-Hepburn Hospital in Ogdensburg, New York. According to information publicly available via his Facebook account, Howells is seen in various photos with three children. Presumably, he is the father of the children. However it is unclear as to whether or not Vaisey is the mother of any or all of them.
Check back for updates on this developing story.
Photos: Stephen Howells Jr. and Nicole Vaisey
(Click twice to enlarge)