Suspects in teacher kidnapping going back to Montana
WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) — A judge on Tuesday ordered the extradition of two men from North Dakota to Montana to face kidnapping charges in the disappearance of a high school math teacher who is believed to be dead.
Judge David Nelson ordered Lester Vann Waters Jr., 47, and Michael Keith Spell, 22, to be extradited during separate hearings in Williston, a city in northwestern North Dakota near the Montana border. They were to be transported about 45 miles to the southwest later Tuesday, to Sidney, Mont., where the missing teacher, Sherry Arnold, lived.
Authorities haven't said what led them to arrest Waters and Spell a week after the Arnold's Jan. 7 disappearance, and no new information about the case came out during Tuesday's hearings.
Arnold, 43, was last seen leaving home for a run, and although her body hasn't been found, investigators believe she is dead. Investigators recovered one of her running shoes near her usual route.
The defendants, who are charged with aggravated kidnapping and were being held on $2.5 million bail each, appeared in court in shackles and black and gray prison garb. They stared at the floor said nothing as their attorneys argued there was insufficient cause to extradite them and that authorities lacked enough information to prove their identities. Neither Waters nor Spell claimed to be someone else.
Mike Weber, the Richland County, Mont., state's attorney, said the two men could appear in court in Sidney later Tuesday or on Wednesday. He said he doesn't expect the charging documents in the case to be filed until later in the week.
Nelson, who has been a North Dakota district judge for 18 years, said Tuesday's hearings were the first time he had handled a contested extradition. He normally hears two extraditions a week, he said.