Picture of kidnapping suspect released after missing girl found

By John Mercury October 4, 2023

Police have released a picture of a man arrested over the disappearance of Charlotte Sena.

The nine-year-old was found “safe and in health” on Monday after a massive two-day search following her disappearance during a family camping holiday in New York state.

Craig Nelson Ross Jr, 46, remains in custody over her disappearance, New York state governor Kathy Hochul told a news conference on Monday night.

Ross was arraigned overnight in town court in Milton, New York on a charge of first-degree kidnapping, the state police announced Tuesday.

Missing US girl Charlotte Sena
Missing US girl Charlotte Sena was found on Monday

Ms Hochul said officials identified a fingerprint on a ransom note that had been delivered to the family while the home was being monitored by police.

She added that after the fingerprint on the note was identified, using data gathered in 1999 after a drink-drive incident, police swooped on the suspect’s home – a camper van behind his mother’s house.

Charlotte was found in a cupboard by officers, she said.

“She knew she was being rescued. She knew that she was in safe hands,” Ms Hochul said.

She added that Charlotte was assessed at a hospital and appeared physically unharmed, and that she and her family had since been reunited.

Charlotte disappeared while riding her bike on Saturday evening in Moreau Lake State Park, about 35 miles (60km) north of Albany.

When she didn’t return 15 minutes later, her parents and nearby campers began to search the area.

Charlotte Sena. Pic: New York State Police
Charlotte Sena. Pic: New York State Police

More than 100 personnel and 75 law enforcement officials were deployed in the search for the girl, which also included dogs, two drones, boats and six underwater rescue teams, Ms Hochul said earlier.

Earlier on Monday, police said 400 search and rescue personnel were looking for the nine-year-old, across a space measuring 46 miles.

Police set up checkpoints in the park, while stopping cars and checking vehicles as they drove through.

The park was closed while the search took place, with officials asking the public to stay away.

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Police added the FBI was also helping in the case.

Charlotte’s aunt, Jene Sena, told Sky’s US partner network NBC News that her niece vanished in only minutes.

“She disappeared almost into thin air. I mean it was, minutes, minutes, between when she was last seen and when she wasn’t there anymore,” Sena said.


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