Much of the US waited with bated breath earlier this week as the search got underway for 9-year-old Charlotte Sena, kidnapped from a New York park.
The alarm was sounded at the weekend after Charlotte disappeared while out riding her bike in Moreau Lake State Park on Saturday evening.
Her recovery was the result of outstanding work on behalf of the authorities, as well as an error on the part of her kidnapper, Craig Nelson Ross Jr, 47.
Ultimately, Charlotte was found in Ross’s cupboard in a camper, after the suspect delivered a ransom note to her parents’ mailbox by hand. New details about the nail-biting 36 hours Charlotte and Craig spent together have now come to light.
It was on Saturday that fears for the safety of Charlotte Sena first became apparent. A search was started when the 9-year-old failed to return after 15 minutes, her parents – along with fellow campers – started a search. Worryingly, however, she was nowhere to be found, resulting in her family contacting the police.
Over 100 personnel and 75 law enforcement officials were deployed in the effort to find Charlotte. The operation saw the use of dogs, drones, boats and underwater rescue teams.
After an unsettling two days, however, Charlotte’s parents received a ransom note at their home. According to reports, their daughter’s abductor, Craig Nelson Ross Jr. had driven to their property and put the note in their mailbox himself.
As per new information from the Times Union, the ransom note could well have been written by Charlotte herself.
“He literally drove up to the family’s mailbox assuming they were not home,” New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said.
Fortunately, police analysis tied a set of fingerprints on the note to the aforementioned Ross Jr following a drink-drive incident registered in 1999.
A rescue team found Charlotte hidden in a cabinet in the camper, while it was confirmed that she was unharmed and “in good health”.
“As each hour went on, hope faded because we all know the stories,” Hochul said after the rescue. “The first 24 hours, there’s hope. But when you hit 48 hours, hope starts to wane. When Charlotte disappeared in Moreau State Park, it was every parent’s worst nightmare.”
Charlotte’s family said in a statement: “We are thrilled that she is home and we understand that the outcome is not what every family gets.”
I’m so happy that this 9-year-old girl was reunited with her family after such a terrifying experience. If you thought this story was interesting, check out the man who moved around the world to become his grandma’s full-time caregiver…
Meanwhile, share this article on Facebook if you want to praise the authorities for their hard work.