New Details Emerge In Capture Of Kidnapping Suspect In Charlotte Sena Case In Saratoga County

New details have emerged after a 9-year-old girl who went missing while riding on a bike path at a park in upstate New York was found safe with a suspect now in custody.

Craig Nelson Ross Jr.

Craig Nelson Ross Jr.

Photo Credit: Saratoga County Sheriff's Office
A look at the staging area at Moreau Lake State Park in Saratoga County as authorities searched for missing 9-year-old Charlotte Sena (inset), who was found early Monday evening, Oct. 2.

A look at the staging area at Moreau Lake State Park in Saratoga County as authorities searched for missing 9-year-old Charlotte Sena (inset), who was found early Monday evening, Oct. 2.

Photo Credit: Flickr via New York Governor's Office/Inset: New York State Police

Charlotte E. Sena was last seen in Saratoga County at around 6:15 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 30 at Moreau Lake State Park in the town of Moreau.

An AMBER Alert was activated by state police on Sunday, Oct. 1, who said they were investigating a possible abduction.

Sena's mother had reported her daughter's disappearance to authorities after the girl's bicycle was found at around 6:45 p.m. Saturday along the path of the 6,200-acre park.

On Monday, Oct. 2, through the course of its investigation, New York State Police identified an individual as being in the area of the Moreau Lake State Park around the time Charlotte went missing. 

"Further investigation led to the search of multiple residences where the individual is known to reside," according to state police.

After searching those residences in the Saratoga County village of Ballston Spa, at approximately 6:30 p.m. Monday, state police located Charlotte Sena safe and in good health after law enforcement teams in two helicopters descended on the property and took the suspect into custody.

He has been identified as Craig Nelson Ross Jr., age 47.

On Tuesday morning, Oct. 3, he was charged with first-degree kidnapping, a felony, arraigned, and sent to the Saratoga County jail without bail.

Additional charges are anticipated, state police said. 

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

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

State police were then able to identify a fingerprint from the note and got a hit from a 1999 DWI charge in Saratoga as a match, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said at a news conference Monday evening.

That led police to a double-wide house where the suspect's mother resides. The suspect lived in a camper behind the house, authorities say.

"They have what they call a dynamic entry, a tactical maneuver, and within the camper, they located the suspect," Hochul said.

"After some resistance, the suspect was taken into custody, and immediately the little girl was found in a cabinet cupboard. She was rescued. 

"And she knew she was being rescued. She knew that she was in safe hands. Her parents were immediately notified.

“Charlotte was transported to a local hospital, "as is customary," Hochul said.

"And that's all the family wishes to reveal at this time," Hochul added. "But they are united. She is in good hands.

"She appeared to be outwardly physically unharmed at the time. But we'll leave the rest of the information about little Charlotte to her family at a time they deem appropriate.

"Often these stories don't end up like this. Every second is key. There's a lot of pressure. Split decisions are made, because you know, not just a life is hanging in the balance, but a little innocent child's life is hanging in the balance."

"This investigation is a culmination of multiple agencies working together for the common goal of bringing this child home to her loving family," state police said. "We cannot emphasize enough how appreciative we are for the support we received from Charlotte’s community, friends, and family."

After Charlotte's disappearance, a command post set up at the park had over 100 personnel deployed, 75 law enforcement on the ground, two drones, an airboat search team, six underwater rescue teams, and another boat with sonar.

Share this story by clicking on the Facebook icon below.

This continues to be a developing story. Check back to Daily Voice for updates.

to follow Daily Voice Saratoga and receive free news updates.