New York Amish girls feared abducted

Searchers looked through a part of far northern New York on Thursday for two Amish girls who were abducted from their family’s roadside farm stand, a hunt that was hampered by the lack of photos of the girls for authorities to circulate among a community. The sisters are 7-year-old Delila Miller and 12-year-old Fannie Miller and vanished around 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday after a white car pulled up to the farm stand near Oswegatchie, a community of a few thousand on the Canadian border and 150 miles northwest of Albany.

Both were wearing dark blue dresses with blue aprons and black bonnets in their traditional amish style. Because the Amish shun modern technology, police have no photographs of the girls. St. Lawrence County Sheriff Kevin Wells said that the family has agreed to the release of a sketch of the older child. He also said that English isn’t the girls’ first language and that anyone who talks with them may notice a Pennsylvania Dutch accent.

Divers combed the St. Lawrence River to rule out the possibility the girls were in the water. Helicopters and search teams on foot tried to make sure they weren’t near the family home. Investigators were talking with nearby registered sex offenders.

The girls are among the youngest of Mose and Barb Miller’s thirteen children, who range in age from 1 to 21 years old. The girls took on the chore of selling the fruits, vegetables, jams and other products of the farm, Simmons, a neighbor, said. On Wednesday, the entire family had gone to the barn as usual for evening milking.

“The girls were always on watch if someone stopped to buy vegetables,” Simmons said. When the family noticed the girls hadn’t returned, they quickly checked the cornfield, she continued, knowing it was unlikely they would have wandered off. That’s when police were notified and an Amber Alert was issued.

“We were down there last night. I cooked a casserole, cake, stuff like that, and took it down to them,” Simmons said after the event took place. “I talked to the mother and consoled her.”

St. Lawrence County is home to New York’s second-largest Amish population, which has grown in the past decade because of land productivity and property prices that are lower than in Pennsylvania. The Amish are helping law enforcement get the word out the old-fashioned way, which is by word of mouth.

“You’d be surprised how quick word spreads,” Wells stated .