Missing Amish girls found safe and alive in upstate NY after apparent abduction
OSWEGATCHIE, N.Y. (ABC News) - Two missing Amish girls in northern New York were found safe and alive Thursday night after they were apparently abducted.
Applause erupted at the search command center when word came of their recovery and the cancellation of an Amber Alert.
The girls, Delila Miller, 6, and Fannie Miller, 12, went to wait on a customer at the family's roadside stand Wednesday night in Oswegatchie, a rural town located near the Canadian border. Police said a witness saw a vehicle put something in the backseat. When the car drove away, the witness told police the children were gone.
The sisters were dropped off in the town of Richville, about 36 miles from where they were abducted, District Attorney Mary Rain said. The girls walked to the closest home and the man who opened the door immediately knew who the girls were because of news reports.
The girls asked the man to take them home, Rain told ABC News.The two young girls have been reunited with their family. They "seem to be healthy," but were "cold and wet," the DA told ABC News, and that they are being interviewed by authorities.
Rain said the sisters were still wearing the Amish attire when they were found. She also said that more than one person may have been involved in the girls' abduction.
The search for the girls was complicated because police did not have any photos of the girls to display because the Amish way of life does not allow for photography.
The girls' family agreed to work with a sketch artist on an image of the elder child.
"It's a belief within the Amish community, so we did really well to get this sketch," St. Lawrence County Sheriff Kevin Wells said.
He added that it was the family's decision to not have an artist's rendering of their younger girl.
Another barrier was that the family speaks mainly Pennsylvania Dutch, the traditional language of the Amish, authorities said. The girls have heavy accents though the 12-year-old speaks English, Wells told the local ABC affiliate.
Wells said it was "a very short period of time" between when the family realized the girls were missing and when authorities were notified.
He said police were alerted from a call made at an English-speaking residence that owns a telephone. Amish families do not have modern conveniences such as telephones, let alone cell phones.
Despite the cultural differences, Wells said the community rallied together to help search for the missing girls.
"This is something that's against what we all believe in," he said.