Charlotte Sena has been located after going missing on Saturday, and was found in "good health"
Charlotte Sena, the 9-year-old girl who went missing while riding her bike in Moreau Lake State Park on Saturday evening, was found alive on Monday night, the New York state police reported. A suspect in her disappearance is now in custody, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said in a press conference.
“Charlotte Sena has been located and in good health," the New York State Police said in a statement Monday.
The state authorities added that a suspect is in custody and that this is still an active investigation.
After Sena was located, Hochul thanked authorities and investigators on X (formerly known as Twitter) for their attempts and the resolution.
"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," wrote Hochul.
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.
— Governor Kathy Hochul (@GovKathyHochul) October 2, 2023
Hochul later told CNN's Anderson Cooper that Charlotte's parents received a ransom note at their home. The note had fingerprints on it, and investigators used them to track down a suspect, the governor said. The suspect's fingerprints were in a law enforcement database, but Huchul did not explain why.
Once the suspect was identified, police searched homes associated with them. Charlotte was found at 6:32 p.m. ET, they said, reports CNN. Investigators also used cell phone pings from people who were in the area where Charlotte was last seen, the governor told CNN.
“It was extraordinary to see how they traced it down to an individual’s home,” Hochul told Cooper. “The home was surrounded by law enforcement and helicopters, and they were able to bring her to safety. And not long after, she was in the arms of her parents at a hospital.”
In a press conference later Monday, Hochul said Charlotte was rescued at the suspect's camper. She was found in a cabinet. The suspect was identified as Craig Nelson Ross Jr., 47, and was being questioned at the time of the press conference, the governor said. She added that Charlotte was taken to a hospital and her family did not wish to release further information at this time.
Hochul confirmed the disappearance of the nine-year-old from Moreau Lake State Park, located about 45 miles north of Albany, in a press conference Sunday.
“[Charlotte] did a couple of loops with close friends she considers her cousins and then she decided after going around Loop A, she said she wanted to go around one more time by herself. Be that big girl, do it by herself,” Hochul said.
But after 15 minutes, Hochul said Charlotte was nowhere to be found. Her bike was reportedly found, but it is unclear who located it, reported Fox News.
The Sena family and other campers then joined the search by calling out for Charlotte. Hochul said Charlotte’s mother, Tricia, called 911 and New York State Police arrived around 15 minutes later, and “over 100 personnel deployed and 75 law enforcement on the ground” were involved in the search.
NYSP K-9s and bloodhounds, Moreau Lake State Park forest rangers, six underwater rescue teams, two drones, an airboat, a Sonar boat and technology experts assisted in the 48-hour-long search. Before Charlotte was found, police said it was possible she was abducted, per The Associated Press.
After the missing child report was issued Saturday evening, Lt. Colonial Mazzone said at the conference that an AMBER alert was issued for “child abduction” on Sunday morning.
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A spokesperson for New York State Police did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for additional information on Monday.
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