Sheriff says Hermon couple charged in Amish kidnapping may face federal charges, arrest prevented abuse
Saturday, August 16, 2014 - 10:41 am

HERMON -- St. Lawrence County Sheriff's Office took two suspects into custody on Friday night and charged them with kidnapping two Amish sisters on Wednesday.

Stephen M. Howells II, 39, and his girlfriend Nicole F. Vaisey, 25, each of 1380 County Route 21, Hermon, are being held at the St. Lawrence County Correctional Facility without bail on one count each of first-degree kidnapping, Sheriff Kevin Wells said.

Additional charges are pending further consultation with the St. Lawrence County District Attorney's Office and the United States Attorney's Office, Syracuse, according to Wells.

In a statement released Friday night, Wells said Howells and Vaisey planned on abusing the sisters.

"The arrest of the two persons have with no doubt saved young children from future abuse at the hands of these two," he said.

Investigators are crediting one of the sisters, 12-year-old Fannie Miller, with giving information that led to her alleged abductor's arrest.

In his statement, Wells credits a number of law enforcement organizations and other first responders.

They include the FBI, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, New York State Police uniform patrol, BCI investigators, Major Crimes Investigators, Forensic Unit, Air Unit, the St. Lawrence County Dive Team, the over 124 volunteer fire personel who showed up to conduct a night search using thermal image devices, and the New York State Forest Rangers.

He also credits The Border Patrol and their aviation unit, the St. Lawrence County Probation Department, Potsdam, Massena, Ogdensburg, Gouverneur police departments, New York state parole officers, St. Lawrence County SANE (sexual assault nurse examiners) and others.

"The Heuvelton community and all of the citizens of St. Lawrence County who donated food, time and information to aid in the investigation," Wells said.

Wells the investigation in ongoing. He is asking anyone with information about other crimes in which Howells and Vaisey may have committed to contact his office at 379-2222.