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      Amish kidnap suspect: we were on a 'shopping trip' for slaves

      Nicole Vaisey and Stephen Howells II

      At a preliminary hearing in Fowler town court near Gouverneur the sheriffâ??s investigator to whom Nicole Vaisey confessed, said Vaisey told him that she and co-defendant, Stephen Howells, went on â??a shopping tripâ?? to turn the girls into their slaves.

      Vaisey and Howells are charged with kidnapping in the abduction of two Amish girls from in front of their family farm stand on August 13th. Vaisey opted to have a preliminary hearing on the kidnapping charge, but Howells decided to waive that right so that the case could go directly before a grand jury.

      Investigator, Brooks Bigwarfe, testified that Vaisey turned herself in and voluntarily confessed to her role in the abductions. She confessed that she and Howells lured the girls into their car by placing a puppy in the back seat. She told the investigator while the girls were held in captivity they were shackled together at the ankles and handcuffed to a bed.

      Bigwarfe also testified that Vaisey also said in a statement they decided to release the girls the next day because they were scared by all of the news reports surrounding their disappearance.

      Town Justice, Paul Lamson, ruled there was enough evidence that a felony was committed and remanded Vaisey back to jail without bail to await a grand jury indictment. Following the preliminary hearing Vaiseyâ??s attorney, Brad Riedeau, reiterated to reporters that Vaisey was, herself, a victim and was controlled by Howells. District attorney, Mary Rain, rejected that notion saying she was â??completely culpableâ?? in the abduction. Rain says additional charges will be placed against the couple whom she referred to as "sexual predators."