Kidnapping Suspect May Have Drugged Amish Girls
Investigators said Stephen Howells may have given one or both of the Amish sisters a prescription sedative or injected them with a drug before allegedly abusing them inside his home on County Route 21 in the town of Hermon.
Officials said the drugs may have been used to relax the girls and cause them to forget.
St. Lawrence County District Attorney Mary Rain said both girls were sexually abused.
Authorities now say as many as four victims, in addition to the two Amish sisters, are now believed to have fallen prey to Howells and his live-in girlfriend Nicole Vaisey.
Vaisey's attorney claims she was being controlled by Howells and was in a "master-slave" relationship with him.
Howells and Vaisey allegedly kidnapped the girls from their home near Heuvelton last Wednesday.
The girls escaped and were found about 24 hours later near Richville.
7 News has learned that the oldest Amish girl was injected in the foot with a substance by Howell shortly after being abducted from the family's roadside vegetable stand last week and victimized at the Hermon residence by Howells and Vaisey.
A number of hypodermic needles and syringes with residue were recovered inside the house where Howells was attempting to build a sound-proof room to hold his victims.
Computer hard drives, cameras and other recording equipment were seized by investigators and are being analyzed.
Three years ago, Vaisey received a $1,500 grant for a psychology research project while attending Mercyhurst University that dealt with viewing sexually suggestive images on rape myth acceptance.
Members of the Amish community have become more cautious since the abduction of the two sisters.
Some vegetable stands operated by the Amish have have become self-service for the time being while others, including the victims' family, have been moved closer to their homes.