Suspects in Sherry Arnold case want hearing

2012-01-17T12:15:00Z 2014-10-06T13:59:08Z Suspects in Sherry Arnold case want hearingThe Associated Press The Associated Press
January 17, 2012 12:15 pm  • 

WILLISTON, N.D. - Two suspects in the disappearance of a high school teacher from eastern Montana are seeking a hearing that could delay their extradition to Montana.

North Dakota District Judge Josh Rustad on Tuesday set bonds of $2.5 million each for 47-year-old Lester Vann Waters and 22-year-old Michael Keith Spell.

The two men are currently being held in Williston, N.D. They want an extradition hearing before they can be sent to Montana to face aggravated kidnapping charges in the Jan. 7 disappearance of math teacher Sherry Arnold of Sidney.

Authorities say Arnold is presumed dead but are offering no insights into how she might have died or why Waters and Spell are considered suspects.

12:15 p.m. Update: Two Parachute, Colo., men held in connection with the disappearance of a Sidney, Mont. teacher are scheduled to appear in court in Williston on Tuesday.

Lester Vann Waters Jr., 47, and Michael Keith Spell, 22, are scheduled to appear at extradition hearings at the Williams County Courthouse before Northwest District Judge Josh Rustad.

According to court documents, Waters and Spell are being charged in Richland County, Mont., with aggravated kidnapping for "without lawful authority restraining Sherry Arnold."

The documents say they are accused of committing the crime at approximately 6:40 a.m. on Jan. 7 near 900 E. Holly St. in Sidney.

Arnold, 43, never returned to her Sidney home from a morning run on Jan. 7, resulting in a massive community search that lasted several days. She has not been located. Law enforcement Friday informed her family and Sidney Public Schools that they believe she is dead.

Police have asked property owners in northeastern Montana and the North Dakota counties of Williams, McKenzie, Mountrail and southern Divide to search their property for signs of Arnold. They believe her body may be buried in an area with a line of mature or rotted trees, such as in shelter belts or vacant farmsteads where grass might be matted.

Officials have released few details of what they believe may have happened to Arnold.

Waters and Spell have been approved for court appointed attorneys for their hearings this afternoon. On the applications, both men say they are unemployed. Waters wrote that he works in construction when employed, and the only asset he listed was a 1992 Ford Explorer. Spell wrote that he performs "labor" when employed, and the only asset he listed was $11 in cash.

Court documents indicate Waters and Spell are scheduled to appear in court in Sidney on the aggravated kidnapping charges on Jan. 24 before Judge Greg Mohr.


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