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N.Y. officials credit ransom-note fingerprint in successful search for 9-year-old girl

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (pictured 2022) updated the public earlier this week when an abducted 9-year-old girl was found safe, saying, "Charlotte will be going home." File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (pictured 2022) updated the public earlier this week when an abducted 9-year-old girl was found safe, saying, "Charlotte will be going home." File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI

Oct. 3 (UPI) -- A fingerprint on a ransom note and a 1999 DUI arrest led police to the suspect in the alleged kidnapping of a 9-year-old New York girl on Monday with the child being recovered safely, authorities said.

Craig Nelson Ross Jr. remained in custody on Tuesday after a SWAT team converged on his camper in the back of his mother's home in Ballston Spa, N.Y., where they also found Charlotte Sena. Authorities had spent two days searching for her.

Sena went missing while on a family camping trip at t Moreau Lake State Park, a heavily wooded area about 35 miles north of Albany. She had been riding her bike when she was allegedly abducted on Saturday.

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Ross was arraigned in Milton Town Court early Tuesday morning and charged with felony first-degree kidnapping. He was being held without bail

The break in the case came when Sena's family received a ransom note at their home. By Monday afternoon, authorities were able to connect a fingerprint on a note to Ross via a 1999 DUI conviction he had in Saratoga.

Undated photo of Charlotte Sena, 9, who was rescued on Monday by New York police after being allegedly abducted on Saturday. Photo courtesy of New York State Police
Undated photo of Charlotte Sena, 9, who was rescued on Monday by New York police after being allegedly abducted on Saturday. Photo courtesy of New York State Police

Authorities said that, when a SWAT team burst into Ross's camper, they found the suspect inside and Sena covered up in a cabinet. Officers took Ross into custody with minor injuries and the girl's parents were notified.

"[I]t's a traumatic event for the family, and certainly Charlotte," said New York Gov. Kathy Hochul on Monday after the rescue. "And we'll continue to keep this family in our prayers as they heal. But she'll be going home. That's the story. Charlotte will be going home."