Detective: Accused Kidnappers Were On "Shopping Trip"


One of two suspects charged in the abduction of two Amish sisters told investigators they were on "a shopping trip and they wanted to make the girls their slaves."

Nicole Vaisey stared ahead as the preliminary hearing took place in Fowler Town Court Thursday.

Judge Paul Lamson ordered the case sent on to St. Lawrence County Court.

St. Lawrence County Sheriff's Detective Sergeant Brooks Bigwarfe testified that Vaisey told him that her boyfriend, Stephen Howells II, hatched a plan to kidnap the two girls, ages 7 and 12 from their family's produce stand near Heuvelton last Wednesday.

"She called it a shopping trip and they wanted to make the two girls their slaves," Bigwarfe said.

Bigwarfe described how Vaisey told him Howells used a Doberman - Golden Retriever puppy named "Kaleidoscope" inside the couple's car to lure the girls. The younger girl leaned into the car but the older girl hung back; Howells pushed the two girls into the car as they screamed.

Bigwarfe said Vaisey told him the sisters were "handcuffed together at the ankles and handcuffed to the bedpost because they were scared they were going to go out the window and flee the house."

Bigwarfe testified that Vaisey and Howells became scared after hearing news reports and Internet postings on the girls' abduction "and they decided to drop the kids off in an isolated area" in Bigelow, near Richville. Vaisey went first, scouting the area for police; then Howells brought the girls and dropped them off.

Vaisey was ordered held without bail. She appeared to be wearing a protective vest when she was brought in and taken from court.

Her lawyer, Brad Riendeau, argued bail should be set because she is not a flight risk and would be at a relative's home.

Riendeau contends Vaisey was a "slave" to Howells.

The 25 year old Vaisey and 39 year old Howells were initially charged with first degree kidnapping, but the charge Thursday was set at second degree kidnapping, which means the girls would not have to testify.

They allegedly kept the girls in their Hermon home overnight.

The girls were dropped off about 24 hours after they were kidnapped.


Thursday, December 8, 2016
, Watertown, NY

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