More charges planned against Amish kidnapping suspects

These images provided by the St. Lawrence County Sheriff's Office show the booking photos of Stephen Howells II, left, and Nicole Vaisey, who are charged with kidnapping two Amish girls. St. Lawrence County Sheriff/AP

CANTON, N.Y. - A prosecutor says additional charges are planned against a northern New York couple accused of kidnapping two young Amish sisters and sexually assaulting them.

St. Lawrence County District Attorney Mary Rain said Sunday that computer hard drives and other evidence were still being collected from the home of Stephen Howells Jr. and Nicole Vaisey.

The pair was arrested Friday and charged with kidnapping with the intent to physically or sexually abuse the 7-year-old and 12-year-old sisters.

Rain says she "100 percent" expects more charges, which could come Monday or at a court hearing Thursday.

The sisters were abducted Wednesday from a farm stand in front of the family's home in Oswegatchie.

Rain said Saturday that the girls were sexually assaulted before being set free Thursday.

St. Lawrence County Sheriff Kevin Wells said at a news conference Saturday that investigators are looking into whether the pair had plotted or carried out other abductions.

"We felt that there was the definite potential that there was going to be other victims," Wells said.

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Nicole Vaisey and Stephen Howells Jr., both wearing striped prison jumpsuits, are led to their arraignment Friday night, Aug. 15, 2014.
WWNY

The sheriff said Howells, 39, and Vaisey, 25, "were targeting opportunities" and did not necessarily grab the girls because they were Amish.

"There was a lot of thought process that went into this," Wells said. "They were looking for opportunities to victimize."

A neighbor told CBS affiliate WWNY that three young children lived with the couple. Wells said one of the pair - he didn't specify whether it was Howells or Vaisey - had three children, but that the youngsters lived with "another parent."

The two suspects in last week's kidnapping of two Amish girls were in a 'master-slave' relationship, the lawyer for one of the suspects confirmed for WWNY Sunday.

Brad Riendeau of Watertown said Nicole Vaisey was in an abusive and submissive relationship with Stephen Howells II.

She did not take the lead in the kidnapping and was "under his control for a long period of time," Riendeau said.

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