In a remarkable turn of events, 9-year-old Charlotte Sena, who went missing while riding her bike in Moreau Lake State Park in New York on Saturday evening, was found alive and in “good health” on Monday night, according to the New York state police. During a press conference, New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced that a suspect in her disappearance is now in custody.
The New York State Police released a statement confirming Charlotte Sena’s safe recovery and stating that the investigation is still active. The police did not disclose further details about the circumstances of her discovery.
Governor Hochul expressed her gratitude on social media, tweeting, “After a 48-hour-long search, Charlotte Sena has been found. 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.”
During an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Governor Hochul revealed that Charlotte’s parents had received a ransom note at their home. This note had fingerprints on it, which investigators used to identify a suspect. The suspect’s fingerprints were in a law enforcement database, although the governor did not provide specific details.
Once the suspect was identified, law enforcement conducted searches of locations associated with the individual. Charlotte was eventually located at 6:32 p.m. ET. Cell phone pings from individuals in the area where Charlotte was last seen also played a role in her discovery.
In a press conference, Governor Hochul disclosed that Charlotte was found in the suspect’s camper, hidden inside a cabinet. The suspect has been identified as Craig Nelson Ross Jr., 47, and was being questioned at the time of the press conference. The governor indicated that Charlotte was taken to a hospital, and the family opted not to release further information at that time.
The disappearance of the nine-year-old from Moreau Lake State Park, situated approximately 45 miles north of Albany, had been announced by Governor Hochul in a press conference on Sunday. Charlotte had been riding her bike with friends in the park when she decided to venture out alone. After about 15 minutes, she was reported missing, though her bike had been found earlier during the search efforts.
The search operation involved an extensive team effort, with over 100 personnel and 75 law enforcement officers on the ground, along with K-9 units, bloodhounds, underwater rescue teams, drones, boats equipped with sonar technology, and more. Prior to Charlotte’s safe recovery, authorities had expressed concerns about the possibility of abduction.
An AMBER alert for “child abduction” had been issued following the initial report of the missing child on Saturday evening.