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Charlotte Sena was found “safe and in good health” after she vanished during her family’s camping trip in upstate New York. While well-wishers are relieved that she was found, many people have been left wondering what happened to the 9-year-old and if there are suspects in the case.
When Did Charlotte Sena Go Missing?
Sena disappeared while riding her bike during the early evening on September 30 at Moreau Lake State Park. The park is located north of Albany and is surrounded by a heavily wooded area.
Her mother called 911 after her bicycle was found at around 6:45 p.m. on September 30. An Amber Alert was then issued on the morning of October 1 after an exhaustive search, with Lt. Colonel Richard Mazzone stating “it was quite possible that an abduction had taken place.”
“We just want her returned safely like any parent would,” Sena’s family said in a statement following her disappearance. “No tip is too small, please call if you know anything at all.”
Approximately 400 people including forest rangers, police officers and firefighters helped in the search for Sena on October 2.
When Was Charlotte Sena Found?
Two days after she was reported missing, Sena was found safe on the evening of October 2.
Are There Suspects in the Charlotte Sena Case?
New York State Governor Kathy Hochul revealed during a news conference held on October 1 that investigators identified a suspect after they were able to match a fingerprint from a ransom note. The suspect has been identified as Craig Nelson Ross Jr.
As Sena’s family remained at the campground where she went missing, Hochul explained that police watched the family's home and saw someone drop a note in their mailbox in the early hours of October 2. State police pulled fingerprints off the note and found that it matched Ross. His fingerprints were already in the database from a 1999 DWI case.
Law enforcement agents were able to find Ross when they linked him to a nearby property owned by his mother. Both Ross and Sena were eventually found in a camper at around 6:30 p.m. that evening.
“After some resistance, the suspect was taken into custody and immediately the little girl was found in a cabinet,” Hochul stated. “She knew she was being rescued. She knew that she was in safe hands.”
Following the recovery, Sena was taken to a local hospital to make sure she was uninjured. She has since reunited with her family, while she appeared to be physically unharmed.
Has Craig Belson Ross Jr. Been Charged for the Disappearance of Charlotte Sena?
Ross has not yet been charged for his connection to Sena’s disappearance, though the governor said they expect to press charges soon.
Hochul explained he was being questioned on the night of October 2, though noted authorities are still treating the case as an active investigation.