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The 9-year-old was found alive in a camper on Monday night, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said in a press conference
Charlotte, 9, who went missing while riding her bike in Moreau Lake State Park on Saturday evening, was found alive on Monday night, New York state police reported.
Speaking in a press conference late on Monday, Hochul revealed that investigators were led to her location after they discovered the key piece of evidence and ran it through police records.
“State police worked diligently trying to find a match for a fingerprint,” said Hochul. “The hit came at 2:30 in the afternoon. There had been a DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) in 1999 in the city of Saratoga. A fingerprint was found that matched what was found on the ransom note."
Through the fingerprint, authorities were able to locate a home occupied by the suspect’s mother. The suspect was then found at 6:32 p.m. ET in a camper parked behind the building, Hochul said.
“After some resistance, the suspect was taken into custody and immediately the little girl was found in a cabinet, covered and she was rescued,” she continued. She knew that she was being rescued. She knew that she was in safe hands.”
“She is in good hands. She appeared to be outwardly physically unharmed at the time,” Hochul said, adding that Charlotte had been transported to the hospital and that her family did not wish to release any further information at this time.
Hochul identified the suspect as 47-year-old Craig Nelson Ross Jr. and said he is still being questioned. “At this moment, charges have not been brought but they are fully expected,” she added.
Hochul told CNN's Anderson Cooper about how investigators used the fingerprints to track down the suspect, “It was extraordinary to see how they traced it down to an individual’s home. The home was surrounded by law enforcement and helicopters, and they were able to bring her to safety. And not long after, she was in the arms of her parents at a hospital,” she said.
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The governor confirmed Charlotte’s disappearance from the state park in Saratoga in a press conference on Sunday.
“[Charlotte] did a couple of loops with close friends she considers her cousins and then she decided after going around Loop A, she said she wanted to go around one more time by herself. Be that big girl, do it by herself,” Hochul said.
After 15 minutes, Charlotte did not return, however. Fox News reported that her bike was reportedly found, but it is unclear who located it. It’s thought she went missing around 6:45 p.m. ET.
Charlotte’s family and other campers began searching for Charlotte, Hochul said, and her mother, Tricia, called 911 and New York State Police arrived around 15 minutes later.
On Sunday morning, the state police issued an AMBER alert for “child abduction.”
After Charlotte was located, Hochul thanked authorities and investigators on X (formerly known as Twitter) for their work.
"After a 48-hour-long search, Charlotte Sena has been found,” she wrote. “Extremely grateful to @nyspolice, @NYStateParks police, and all of our partners who worked tirelessly to locate Charlotte and ensure she could return home safely to her family.”
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