Extradition hearings set in missing teacher case

GRAND FORKS, N.D. — Extradition hearings will be held next month for two men jailed in North Dakota in the kidnapping of a Montana teacher who is presumed dead.

A judge in Williston on Monday scheduled the hearings for Feb. 14, the Grand Forks Herald reported.

The men — Lester Waters Jr., 47, and Michael Spell, 22, both of Parachute, Colo. — have been in the Williams County jail in Williston since Jan. 13 and are fighting extradition to Montana. They face charges of aggravated kidnapping, which carries a maximum sentence of death in that state.

The two are accused of kidnapping Sherry Arnold of Sidney, Mont. The 43-year-old Sidney High School algebra teacher was last was seen leaving her home to go for a run the morning of Jan. 7.

Waters and Spell qualified as indigent and were appointed public defenders. Each has a bond of $2.5 million.

The FBI is leading the two-state investigation. The agency has said Arnold is presumed dead, although her body has not been found.

Richland County, Mont., prosecutor Michael Weber alleges the two men kidnapped Arnold from a Sidney street about 10 minutes after she left her home. Only one of her running shoes has been found.

The FBI asked landowners in extreme northeastern Montana and in four counties in northwest North Dakota to search abandoned farmsteads that have shelterbelts with rows of mature or rotting trees.

According to court records, the two men left western Colorado less than two days before Arnold disappeared. Both have criminal records.


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