In an "extraordinary" turn of events, police pulled the alleged kidnapper's fingerprints off a ransom note posted through Charlotte Sena's family mailbox, as Bairbre Holmes reports
A man has been charged after a missing girl was found in a campervan cabinet at her suspected kidnapper's mother's house, when fingerprints were identified on a ransom note posted to her family's home.
Charlotte Sena, nine, disappeared while riding her bike early on Saturday evening when she was on a family camping trip at Moreau Lake State Park, New York State.
After cycling a couple of loops with her friends, “she just wanted to go around one more time by herself, be that big girl and do it by herself,” the governor said.
When Charlotte didn’t return from the wooded area roughly 15 minutes later, her parents “knew immediately something was up”.
Hundreds of people took part in a two-day search, which ended with her rescue and the arrest of a person who is suspected of abducting her, police said.
Craig Nelson Ross Jr., 47, has been charged with kidnapping following her disappearance and is being held by police.
Police traced her alleged kidnapper after identifying a fingerprint from a ransom note believed to be left by the suspect, Governor Kathy Hochul said during a news conference.
“What happened was extraordinary,” she said.
Ms Hochul said while the rest of Charlotte's family remained at the campground where she had gone missing, police watching their home saw someone drop a note in their postbox at 4.20am on Monday.
Police pulled fingerprints off the note and the second one matched Ross, who was in a database from a 1999 drink driving case, Ms Hochul said.
Law enforcement agents linked Ross to a property owned by his mother and found him in a camper at about 6.30pm.
“After some resistance, the suspect was taken into custody," she added.
They found Charlotte hidden in a cabinet in the camper, Ms Hochul said, according to CNN.
Charlotte was unharmed and has been reunited with her family, after being taken to a local hospital as a precaution.
Ross was still being questioned on Monday night, it was not immediately known if he had a lawyer to comment on his behalf. Police said the investigation was still active.
About 400 people took part in the 46 mile search for the girl on Monday, including forest rangers, police officers and firefighters.
Officials had issued an Amber Alert on Sunday morning after an exhaustive search because “it was quite possible that an abduction had taken place,” state police Lt. Colonel Richard Mazzone said.
The alert described her as a white girl with blonde hair and green eyes who is about 4 feet 6 inches tall (1.37 meters).
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