Suspect Charged With Kidnapping 9-Year-Old Girl From New York Campground

Craig Nelson Ross, Jr. was charged with kidnapping overnight in the disappearance of 9-year-old Charlotte Sena in Upstate New York.

Tuesday, October 3rd 2023, 1:38 pm

By: CBS News


Craig Nelson Ross, Jr. was charged with kidnapping overnight in the disappearance of 9-year-old Charlotte Sena in Upstate New York.

Sena went missing Saturday evening at Moreau Lake State Park, about 35 miles north of Albany, while riding her bicycle.

Her family released a statement Tuesday acknowledging how fortunate they are she was found unharmed, hiding in a cabinet in the suspect's camper.

"We are thrilled that she is home and we understand that the outcome is not what every family gets. A huge thank you to the FBI, the New York State police, all of the agencies that were mobilized, all of the families, friends, community, neighbors and hundreds of volunteers who supported us and worked tirelessly to bring Charlotte home," the statement read.

New video shows New York State Police and other law enforcement officers combing the Milton neighborhood where the girl was found Monday night.

"Our prayers have been answered," Gov. Kathy Hochul announced in a late night press conference.

Four hundred certified search and rescue personnel, including the FBI, launched a massive two-day search that ended when authorities say the suspect unintentionally handed them a break in the case.

"[He] literally drove up to the family's mailbox, assuming they were not home, 4:20 in the morning, opens the mailbox and inserts the ransom note, leaving a critical piece of evidence behind -- his own fingerprint," Hochul said.

Police said Ross, Jr.'s fingerprints were in their database from a 1999 DWI case in Saratoga.

SWAT teams descended on his mother's property, where they found the little girl inside a cabinet in a camper parked out back.

"Excited. We came together, open the doors to pray, and we're seeing a miracle," said one searcher.

"Happy. I can't imagine what the family is thinking and feeling right now," another added. "Especially being local, we live right here in this neighborhood, and we're all just breathing a a sigh of relief not just for them and their children but for all the children in the neighborhood. We feel safe again."

Ross, Jr. was charged with first-degree kidnapping, and state police say more charges are likely.


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