9-Year-Old's Parents Got Ransom Note After She Vanished

Charlotte Sena was found safe after she disappeared at New York campground
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 3, 2023 1:30 AM CDT
9-Year-Old's Parents Got Ransom Note Before She Was Found
This photo provided by her family on Monday, Oct. 2, 2023, shows Charlotte Sena, 9, who vanished during a camping trip in upstate New York.   (Family photo via AP)

Before Charlotte Sena was found safe two days after disappearing while bicycling at a New York campground, the 9-year-old girl's parents received a ransom note at their home, authorities say. Fingerprints found on the note, as well as cellphone pings from the area where Charlotte 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., 47, 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 Charlotte 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. Charlotte 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." (Read more New York stories.)

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