Man Who Kidnapped Girl, 9, Gets 47 Years to Life

She was found in his camper 2 days after she was kidnapped from NY campground
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 3, 2023 1:30 AM CDT
Updated Feb 22, 2024 9:55 AM CST
9-Year-Old's Parents Got Ransom Note Before She Was Found
Police secure the entrance to Moreau Lake State Park during the search for the missing girl, Oct. 2, 2023, in Gansevoort, NY.   (AP Photo/Michael Hill, File)
UPDATE Feb 22, 2024 9:55 AM CST

A man who kidnapped a 9-year-old girl from a campground in upstate New York pleaded guilty to two felonies Wednesday and will serve at least 47 years in prison. Craig Ross Jr., 46, was sentenced to 25 years to life for first-degree kidnapping and 22 years to life for predatory sexual assault against a child, with the sentences to be served consecutively, the Times Union reports. The girl was found alive in a cabinet in his camper two days after she was kidnapped from the Moreau Lake State Park campground. Saratoga County District Attorney Karen Heggen said that if Ross hadn't taken the plea deal, the girl would likely have had to testify at a trial that had been scheduled to start in April. "He will be 93 years old when he's even eligible to talk about parole consideration," Heggen said.

Oct 3, 2023 1:30 AM CDT

Before a 9-year-old girl was found safe two days after disappearing while bicycling at a New York campground, her parents received a ransom note at their home, authorities say. Fingerprints found on the note, as well as cellphone pings from the area where she was last seen and information from registered campers, helped authorities determine homes associated with the suspect that they should search and ultimately led them to find the little girl at 6:32pm Monday, CNN reports. The suspect, whose fingerprints were in a law enforcement database thanks to a 1999 DWI arrest, was taken into custody. Authorities identified the suspect as Craig Ross Jr., 46, Fox News reports. Law enforcement sources tell News Channel 13 he lives about 20 miles from the campground.

Police believe Ross was in the vicinity where the girl was last seen as she biked around one of the loops at the Moreau Lake State Park campground Saturday at 6:15pm. She had previously biked around the loop a few times with family friends and had asked to go once more by herself; her bike was found shortly thereafter, without her on it, when she failed to return. the girl was found after authorities surrounded Ross' mother's double-wide trailer in Milton, New York, and stormed a camper behind it. "Within the camper they located the suspect," New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said at a press conference. "After some resistance, the suspect was taken into custody, and immediately the little girl was found in a cabinet, covered. She was rescued." (More missing child stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.