Campground Kidnapping: Man Admits Abducting, Sexually Assaulting 9-Year-Old Girl From Region

The man accused of kidnapping a 9-year-old girl from a New York state park and later sexually abusing her has formally confessed.

Craig Ross Jr.

Craig Ross Jr.

Photo Credit: Saratoga County Sheriff's Office/Wikimedia Commons user BowersE

Craig Ross Jr., age 47, pleaded guilty to kidnapping with intent to collect ransom and predatory sexual assault against a child as part of a plea deal in Saratoga County Court on Wednesday, Feb. 21.

New York State Police said Ross abducted the child as she rode her bicycle in Moreau Lake State Park on Saturday, Sept. 30, 2023.

Her mother called 911 after finding the girl’s bike along a path near their campsite in the 6,200-acre park. State Police activated an AMBER alert the following day, saying they were investigating a possible abduction.

The case started to break at around 4:20 a.m. Monday, Oct. 2, at the Sena family's home in Corinth, which was being guarded by troopers while the parents remained at the campsite.

That's when a car pulled up to the mailbox and police found a ransom note.

Troopers were able to identify a fingerprint from the note and got a hit from a 1999 DWI charge in Saratoga as a match, Gov. Kathy Hochul said at a news conference that evening. 

Police then searched multiple homes in the village of Ballston Spa where Ross is known to reside.

Finally, at around 6:30 p.m., law enforcement teams in two helicopters descended on a property with a double-wide house where Ross’ mother lives. Inside, they found the young girl hidden in a cupboard.

Ross was arrested behind the home “after some resistance,” police said.

Following Wednesday’s guilty plea, Ross was taken to the Saratoga County jail without bail. 

Prosecutors asked that he be sentenced to 47 years to life in prison. A 100-year protection order was also issued on behalf of the victim.

Sentencing is set for Wednesday, April 17. 

Hours after Ross' guilty pleas, Saratoga County District Attorney Karen Heggen issued the following statement:

“With the guilty plea today of Craig N. Ross, Jr., the victim and their family were able to hear the defendant admit his guilt to these heinous and despicable acts. 

"His admission of guilt ends the question of who was responsible for the kidnapping that rallied our entire community together to assist in locating her. 

"He will serve decades in prison before any parole consideration is available to him. 
"This result is due to the tremendous efforts of the New York State Police and their numerous law enforcement partners, along with the outpouring of support from the citizens of the community who turned out in so many ways in support of the child and their family.”

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