9-year-old girl who vanished on family camping trip found after suspect left fingerprints on ransom note
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Featured Image Credit: National Center For Missing and Endangered / Twitter/@nyspolice
The man suspected of abducting nine-year-old Charlotte Sena left fingerprints on the ransom note.
Sena went missing on Saturday (30 September) from New York's Moreau Lake State Park. The nine-year-old had been camping with her family and cycling around the picnicking field by herself, setting off on her final loop at around 6.15pm.
After she didn't return for 15 minutes, her family and other campers went out to look for her, and upon realising she'd vanished, called police at around 6.45pm.
An amber alert was activated by New York State Police and 'over 100 personnel [were] deployed and 75 law enforcement on the ground' in a bid to find the nine-year-old.
Thankfully, Sena was discovered yesterday (Monday, 2 October) and authorities have tracked down a suspect after they left a ransom note at Sena's family home with their fingerprints on.
At a late night news conference, Governor Kathy Hochul explained when authorities first realised what may have happened to Sena.
According to the Governor, Sena's suspected abductor 'literally drove up to the family's mailbox assuming they were not home' to deliver a ransom note at around 4.20am yesterday.
Indeed, Sena's parents were at the camping ground still searching for their daughter, but their house was being monitored by state police.
The note had fingerprints on which were able to be tested and matched to some already logged in the police database from a 1999 drink-drive incident.
The nine-year-old's suspected abductor has subsequently been named as 47-year-old Craig Nelson Ross Jr.
Two SWAT teams accompanied investigators to enter Ross' camper, where they discovered the nine-year-old hidden in a cabinet.
Hochul added: "She knew she was being rescued. She knew she was in safe hands."
The governor also notes Sena was found in 'good health,' but as a 'customary' measure was taken straight to hospital.
Charges have not yet been brought against Ross, however they are 'fully expected,' Gov. Hochul says.
Gov. Hochul took to X - formerly known as Twitter - to praise the efforts of law enforcement. She wrote: "Now, because of the extraordinary work of law enforcement, Charlotte will be reunited with her family.
"Law enforcement teams were relentless in finding this little girl - putting the pieces together and leaving no cabin unturned - to bring Charlotte home to her parents.
"Charlotte is safe and her abductor is behind bars tonight."
Gov Hochul resolved to CNN: "I told her parents, 'We will find your daughter' [...] and I as a mom, am just so grateful she's been found tonight."
"[...] Everyone in New York is breathing a collective sigh of relief."