In a chilling series of events that originated from upstate New York, a 46-year-old man was indicted for the kidnapping of nine-year-old Charlotte Sena. The suspect, identified as Craig Nelson Ross Jr., delivered a ransom note to the family, indicating his intent to extract a financial settlement in exchange for the girl’s safe return.
The charge of first-degree kidnap against Ross comes with the anticipation of additional charges as the investigation unfolds. The preliminary hearing is slated for October 6, with Ross being held without bail in the Saratoga County Correctional Facility.
In what can only be described as a whirlwind 48 hours, Charlotte was successfully restored to her family’s side after she disappeared, prompting a large scale search. The family expressed their relief and gratitude in a statement, acknowledging the efforts made by different agencies, the larger community, and volunteers to ensure Charlotte’s safe return.
In the interest of her emotional recovery, Charlotte has yet to be formally questioned regarding her ordeal and her time with the kidnapper. Following a comprehensive medical examination, she was returned to her family. Specially trained forensic interviewers are expected to conduct an interview with Charlotte at a later date.
Thanks to the pivotal ransom note left in the Sena family’s mailbox, investigators were able to identify Ross as a suspect. Fingerprints on the note were compared against law enforcement records, resulting in a match with Ross. The authorities swiftly moved in to secure Ross’s residential premises, leading to the arrest of Ross and the discovery of Charlotte hidden in a cabinet. Charlotte appeared to be physically unscathed, according to the governor’s office.
Charlotte initially went missing at the Moreau Lake State Park during a family outing, prompting an intense search effort that involved multiple agencies. The suspect was allegedly seen dropping off the ransom note at the Sena family’s home mere hours after Charlotte was declared missing.
Intriguingly, Ross’s fingerprint was in the law enforcement’s database from an unrelated incident in 1999. This lead helped investigators find Charlotte at a camper located on Ross’s mother’s property. During the course of the arrest, Ross resisted and sustained minor injuries.
Other elements such as cellular data from the vicinity of the park at the time of the girl’s disclosure and park visitor logs further assisted in the investigation. The property where Charlotte was found is nearly 17 miles away from the park, with the suspect also owning a property in close proximity to the Sena family home.
On the fateful day, Charlotte was last seen cycling around the park under the supervision of her friends. After her bike was found abandoned, her mother reported her missing, and a full-scale search and rescue mission got underway.
As the search progressed, authorities started to believe that Charlotte was abducted, leading to the mobilization of various state and federal resources. These included dogs, hostage negotiators, specialized aerial units, and various other law enforcement resources with extensive specialized training.
The rescue of this little girl who is described as “a bright and adventurous” soul who “always puts others first” bears testimony to the relentless pursuit of justice and commitment to safeguarding our communities. To all those who participated in ensuring Charlotte’s safe return, we offer our heartfelt thanks. This case is a stark reminder of the importance of a unified front in the face of adversity, and the significance of community in bringing about change.