Cops: Missing Sisters Held Captive for 11 Months

Woman charged with kidnapping NY teens
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 11, 2016 12:42 AM CST
Updated Mar 11, 2016 6:26 AM CST
Cops: Missing Teens Held Captive for 11 Months
Police released this photo of the sisters after they vanished last year.   (New York State Police)

A happy ending in a case where cops feared the worst: Two teenage sisters who vanished in upstate New York have been found alive and well in the home of a woman who is accused of kidnapping them. Shaeleen Fortner, 14, and her sister, Kylea Fortner, 16, were found in the Vestal, NY, home of 29-year-old Amanda Hellmann after cops received a tip, reports the Press & Sun Bulletin. The girls were 13 and 15 when they disappeared on April 27 of last year. They had been living with a foster family in Binghamton. After they disappeared, police said they had last been seen waiting for a school bus. Hellmann, described as a family acquaintance, has been charged with kidnapping.

Hellmann "conducted numerous acts to prevent law enforcement from returning the two children to their foster parents," according to a police complaint. Broome County DA Steve Cornwell says the girls are healthy and were apparently being held without their consent. "For all of us, I think 11 months goes by and you think you are never going to see them again or you think the worst, but police didn't give up," he tells WBNG. "State police knew that they were going to keep working the case and keep working leads and talking to people and they didn't give up." He didn't comment on a possible motive or offer details on the captivity of the sisters, who are now in the custody of Child Protective Services. (More missing teen stories.)

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