Break in Kidnapping Case: Suspect Dropped Off a Note

Craig Ross Jr., 47, is accused of abducting Charlotte Sena, 9, and demanding a ransom
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 3, 2023 12:10 PM CDT
Kidnapping Charges Filed After Girl's Remarkable Rescue
This photo provided by her family shows Charlotte Sena, 9.   (Family photo via AP)

She'd been missing two days, but the saga of 9-year-old Charlotte Sena ended with unexpectedly good news: She is safe and sound, having been rescued from a stranger's cupboard thanks to an unexpected break in the case. Meanwhile, 47-year-old Craig Ross Jr. is being held without bail in the Saratoga County Jail in upstate New York on kidnapping charges, reports ABC7. All of this began when Charlotte disappeared in a state park north of Albany on Saturday while riding her bike, setting off a massive search that wasn't yielding much progress through Sunday night. Details:

  • The break: Authorities say Ross dropped off a ransom note about 4:20am Monday at the Sena home in nearby Greenfield. "He literally drove up to the family's mailbox assuming they were not home," said Gov. Kathy Hochul, per CNN. As it turns out, Charlotte's parents were out searching for her at the time. State troopers were keeping on eye on the house, but the note dropoff "happened very quickly," said Hochul. Troopers were unable to stop the car, but they were "able to make out the type of vehicle," per ABC News. (Note: This has been updated with new details regarding the surveillance of the home.)

  • Fingerprint: Investigators pulled a print off the note and found a match in their database to Ross, thanks to a 1999 drunken-driving arrest in Saratoga, per CBS News. Police then converged on the residence of Ross' mother in nearby Milton, and, more specifically, on a camper behind her trailer, according to the New York Times.
  • Arrest, rescue: "They had what they call a dynamic entry, a tactical maneuver, and within the camper they located the suspect," said Hochul, per Fox News. Police say he resisted and suffered minor injuries during the arrest. They quickly found Charlotte in what was described as a cabinet or a cupboard. "She knew she was being rescued," said Hochul. "And she knew that she was in safe hands."
  • Charlotte: She appeared to be unharmed physically and was taken to a hospital for evaluation, said the governor. Her family issued the following statement: "We are thrilled that she is home and we understand that the outcome is not what every family gets," they wrote. "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."
(Read more child kidnapping stories.)

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