the criminal left evidence on the ransom note
Charlotte Sena, a 9-year-old girl who went missing two days ago while hiking at a New York state park, has been found safe and a suspect has been detained, CNN reports.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul spoke at a news conference about the ransom note Charlotte’s parents received, the diligent work by authorities and the critical piece of evidence that led to the breakthrough in the investigation.
The turning point in the case came early Monday, Sept. 2, when the suspect drove up to Charlotte’s parents’ house and placed a ransom note in the mailbox, Hochul said. “He literally drove up to the family’s mailbox, believing they weren’t home,” Hochul said, adding that Charlotte’s parents were still at the campsite looking for their daughter.
The family’s home was under state police surveillance, but officers were responding to another call in the area when the suspect planted a note. Police checked the document for fingerprints and turned to law enforcement databases to find matches.
On a second attempt, the fingerprints left on the note were identified as 47-year-old Craig Nelson Ross Jr., the governor said. Investigators were able to determine that Ross was living in a trailer behind his mother’s house, and they deployed two SWAT teams to enter. Law enforcement conducted a so-called dynamic entry tactical maneuver and found the suspect inside the van,” Hochul said.
According to police, he resisted arrest and received minor injuries. Charlotte was found hidden in a closet in the trailer, Hochul said. “She knew she was being saved,” the governor said. “She knew she was in good hands.”
Charlotte appeared to be in good condition but was taken to hospital – “a common practice,” the governor said. Ross was still being questioned Monday night. “Charges have not been filed at this time, but they are expected,” Hochul said.
Earlier, the governor said authorities were also helped in their search for Charlotte by calls from cell phones of people in the area where she was last seen. Authorities also had information from those who came to the park as tourists because they registered at the camp and day visitors paid an entrance fee.
Thus, based on cell phone data, information about who was in the park, and a ransom note, a round of possible suspects could be started. The combination of these factors led authorities to a suspect—and to Charlotte.
“The house was surrounded by law enforcement and helicopters, and they were able to bring the girl to safety. And soon after that, she found herself in the hospital in the arms of her parents,” Hokul added.
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