(HERMON, N.Y.) — Police have arrested two people in connection with the kidnapping of a pair of Amish girls from their family’s roadside vegetable stand in northern New York.
Stephen Howells II, 29, and Nicole Vaisey, 25, each face two counts of first-degree kidnapping. That charge carries a maximum prison sentence of 25 years to life.
The girls showed up on the doorstep of Jeff and Pam Stinson barefoot, cold, wet and hungry Thursday night, the couple told ABC News on Friday.
The Stinsons opened their door to the two girls, Delila Miller, 6, and Fannie Miller, 12, who asked the couple to drive them back home. The Stinsons said they recognized the girls because they had bought produce from them before and were aware of news reports about their abduction.
According to police, the sisters were abducted Wednesday night in Oswegatchie, New York, a rural town located near the Canadian border, when they went out to sell vegetables to a car at the stand. They were then dropped off later near the Stinson’s house, authorities said.
Authorities held a news conference Friday about the abduction but refused to give details about the incident other than to say that they are still investigating and the Miller girls appeared to be healthy.
When the girls arrived on their doorstep, the Stinsons fed them watermelon and grape juice and the girls were so hungry they couldn’t stop eating the watermelon.
“They ate that watermelon in 30 seconds. It was fast,” said Jeff Stinson.
Jeff Stinson knew exactly where the two girls lived because he had bought corn from the elder girl before at their vegetable stand.
At one point on the return home, the girls ducked in the back seat because they saw the kidnapper’s red car pulled over by the side of the road, the Stinsons said.
An Amber Alert had been issued Wednesday night after a witness reported seeing a vehicle pull up to the stand, the girls go out to wait on them, and then the driver of the car put something in the backseat. When the car drove away, the witness told police the children were gone.
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