A New York couple arrested in the kidnapping of two Amish sisters may have planned to abduct more children.
St. Lawrence County Sheriff Kevin Wells said Saturday that "there was the definite potential" of additional victims and that additional charges may be filed against Stephen Howells, 39, and Nicole Vaisey, 25.
The Hermon, N.Y., couple have been arraigned on charges they intended to physically harm or sexually abuse a 7-year-old and 12-year-old after abducting them from a roadside farm stand in northern New York state earlier this week.
Wells says the motive was "to take these girls from their home and victimize these girls."
The sheriff said Howells and Vaisey "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."
The St. Lawrence County Sheriff's Office issued a statement late Friday saying the arrests of Howells and Vaisey "no doubt saved young children from future abuse."
District Attorney Mary Rain declined to discuss a motive for the abduction or provide any other specifics about the suspects. She said information provided by the girls helped lead to Howells and Vaisey, whose home is about 13 miles from where the girls live.
"The girls were strong," Wells says. "They were able to verbalize to the investigators some different facts about their time in captivity."
Bradford Riendeau, a lawyer for Vaisey, said, "We're going to be reviewing the available evidence." He expects to speak with her in jail later Saturday.
Contributing: Associated Press