Man charged with kidnapping 9-year-old girl in Capital Region appears in court

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SARATOGA COUNTY, N.Y. — The man charged with kidnapping 9-year-old Charlotte Sena in the Capital Region appeared in court on Tuesday morning, according to our Albany affiliate WNYT.

Craig Ross Jr., 47 of Milton, is accused of abducting the girl at Moreau Lake State Park in Saratoga County on Saturday evening. She disappeared while riding her bike at the park, leading New York State Police to activate an Amber Alert. On Monday night, troopers announced that Charlotte had been found alive.

Ross was arraigned before a judge in Milton Town Court around 3 a.m. on Tuesday. He was taken to Saratoga County Jail without bail and his next court date is scheduled for Oct. 17 at 10:30 a.m.

Hochul said the case broke open early Monday morning when State Police found a ransom note that had been dropped off at Charlotte’s home. Using fingerprints found on the ransom note, investigators were able to identify Ross, 47, as the primary suspect. After searching multiple addresses linked to Ross, police found Charlotte inside a cabinet at his mother’s home.

State Police said about 400 people took part in the search Monday, up from more than 100 the day before, WNYT reports.

The Sena family released the following statement:

We are thrilled that she is home and we understand that the outcome is not what every family gets. 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.”

NYSP Troop G noted the investigation involved multiple agencies working together.

According to WNYT reports, the search expanded over 46 linear miles (74 linear kilometers) by Monday, with much of the area heavily wooded. Troopers set up several checkpoints on the winding, rural roads around the park. They stopped drivers and asked if they knew the family, had seen the girl’s photo or had any other information that could help the search. They also had some drivers open their trunks.

According to WNYT, the park remained closed because of the search, and officials asked members of the public who showed up hoping to help to stay away and leave the search to professionals. Federal authorities also issued a temporary flight restriction over the park for the safety of law enforcement air operations.

Hochul’s office earlier released a statement from the governor:

“We are overjoyed at the news that Charlotte Sena has been located safely this evening after an intense days-long search. Our hearts are with her family as they welcome her home.”

“Thank you to the New York State Police, New York Park Police and all who worked so tirelessly to find Charlotte. It is because of their efforts that Charlotte will be able to return home safe to her family.”

State Police say the investigation is continuing.

You can donate to a gofundme page to help Charlotte’s family.