Local hospital once employed kindapper of Amish girls

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Updated: 8/17 9:50 am

TROY, N.Y. – Investigation of the man involved with the kidnapping of the two Amish sisters near Oswegatchie has revealed he was once a nurse at Samaritan Hospital in Troy.

The two Amish sisters who were abducted on Wednesday are now home safe after police say their captors, 39-year-old Stephen Howells and his girlfriend Nicole Vaisey dropped them back off.

After photos of the pair started to circulate, residents of the capital region started to recognize who he was.

“Stephen Howells did work at Samaritan Hospital as an agency nurse. He did shifts at the facility at Samaritan Hospital for a three month period that ended in January of 2014. He was not an employee of Samaritan, but an employee of the nursing agency he worked for,” said Elmer Streeter with St. Peter's Health Partner's.

According to spokesperson Laura Shea, Howells currently worked at Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center in Ogdensburg.

"He has worked at the hospital since June of 2006. Currently he is in our wound healing center,” Shea said.

Shea also says Howells has been suspended without pay.

"We are all shocked by the news and have been working ever since we received the information to do our internal investigation," said Shea.

Shea says the investigation will determine if Howells had any misconduct at the hospital with patients or staff.

As for the criminal investigation, the Lawrence County Sheriff says both girls were victims of crimes but would not elaborate.

Authorities say the pair may have planned to kidnap other children too.

Both hospitals say Howells passed backgrounds checks and other extensive checks.

Officials say more charges are expected for both Howells and Vaisey.

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