Kidnapping suspect who left ransom note also gave police a clue — his fingerprints
MOREAU, N.Y. (AP) — A fingerprint on a ransom note led police to a kidnapping suspect's camper in New York where 9-year-old Charlotte Sena was found hidden in a cabinet, ending a two-day search sparked by the girl's disappearance during a family camping trip, officials said.
Craig Nelson Ross Jr., 46, was arrested Monday at the camper parked at his mother's house, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced at a news conference late Monday.
Ross was arraigned overnight in town court in Milton, New York on a charge of first-degree kidnapping, the state police announced Tuesday. He was being held without bail at the Saratoga County Correctional Facility.
Police said more charges are expected against Ross, whose age was initially given as 47.
A message seeking comment was left with the Saratoga County Public Defender's Office, which represented Ross at his arraignment.
Charlotte vanished while riding her bike Saturday at Moreau Lake State Park, a heavily wooded area some 35 miles (60 kilometers) north of Albany.
Stat police issued an Amber Alert on Sunday because “it was quite possible that an abduction had taken place,” Lt. Colonel Richard Mazzone said.
About 400 people took part in the search for Charlotte, including forest rangers, police officers and firefighters.
The girl’s family pleaded with the public for help in finding Charlotte, including providing any tips to the state police.
“We just want her returned safely like any parent would,” the family said in a statement earlier Monday. “No tip is too small, please call if you know anything at all.”
Hochul said Charlotte’s family remained at the campground while police watched the family's home. The officers saw someone drop a note in the mailbox at 4:20 a.m. Monday, the governor said. State police pulled fingerprints off the note and the second one matched Ross, who was in a database from a 1999 DWI case.
Law enforcement agents linked Ross to the property owned by his mother, where they found him in the camper, Hochul said.
“After some resistance, the suspect was taken into custody and immediately the little girl was found in a cabinet,” Hochul said. “She knew she was being rescued. She knew that she was in safe hands.”