Man charged with kidnapping 9-year-old Charlotte Sena

Craig Nelson Ross Jr., the man suspected of kidnapping 9-year-old Charlotte Sena from a state park in New York on Saturday night, has been charged.

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On Tuesday morning, New York State Police said Ross, 46, was arraigned on one count of first-degree kidnapping and jailed without bail in Saratoga County. Charlotte was found Monday and reunited with her family.

Authorities said they expect to file additional charges.

Ross’ arrest capped an intense, two-day search for Charlotte, who vanished during a family camping trip at Moreau Lake State Park, the Times Union reported. Just before her disappearance, she had asked for permission to ride around a loop in the park by herself. Police estimated that she was a fifth of a mile from where her family was camping when she was taken.

Hundreds of people searched over 46 miles to find Charlotte. The case broke Monday after a person drove up to the Sena family’s home and left a letter demanding a ransom in the mailbox, Gov. Kathy Hochul said.

“It appears that it was (left) by the suspect himself, that he literally drove up to the family’s mailbox assuming they were not home — (at) 4:20 in the morning,” she said at a news conference late Monday. “(He) opens the mailbox and inserts the ransom note, leaving a critical piece of evidence behind: his own fingerprint.”

The governor said the fingerprint was later linked to Ross after it matched a 1999 DWI arrest in Saratoga, leading authorities to Ross’ mother’s home. He was staying in a camper behind the double-wide, officials said.

“After some resistance, the suspect was taken into custody and immediately the little girl was found in cabinet, covered,” Hochul said. “She was rescued, and she knew she was being rescued. She knew that she was in safe hands.”

The family was reunited on Monday. The governor said Charlotte “appeared to be outwardly, physically unharmed.”

It remained unclear Tuesday whether Ross knew Charlotte or her family. Hochul said his driver’s license listed a home address two miles from the family’s home.

Authorities continue to investigate.

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