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Police charge suspect in Saratoga kidnapping case

Governor Hochul comments earlier this week about the rescue of a missing Saratoga County child.
Mike Groll/Office of Governor Kathy Hochul
Governor Hochul's Flickr page
Governor Hochul comments earlier this week about the rescue of a missing Saratoga County child.

After a search spanning three days and over 46 miles, 9-year-old Charlotte Sena was found safe and in good health late Monday afternoon.

Police have charged Craig Ross Jr. with the Saratoga County kidnapping. Ross was processed at SP Latham and arraigned at the Milton Town Court early Tuesday morning.

He has been remanded to the Saratoga County Correctional Facility without bail.

Governor Kathy Hochul addressed the aftermath of Sena’s disappearance at a press conference where she thanked the law enforcement and volunteers from across the state who participated in the search.

“It's been a long two days, but tonight our prayers have been answered,” Hochul said. “It is the people standing here with me, they remind me why I'm so proud to be the governor of the state, incredible men and women who were relentless in their pursuit of finding this little girl.”

Sena disappeared from Monreau Lake State Park late into the evening of Sept. 30. She had been biking around the park with several close friends and, as dinnertime approached, decided to bike one final loop by herself.

“Literally 15 minutes later, she hadn't come back yet. And that's really when the nightmare begins,” Hochul said in an update to the case on Oct. 1. “Her parents knew immediately something was up.”

Campers joined Sena’s parents—David and Trisha Sena—in the search, which grew to include State Police, forest rangers, underwater rescue teams and drone operators as evening turned to night. By Oct. 2, approximately 400 certified search and rescue personnel were actively searching the area.

A break in the case occurred the same night at the Sena family’s home.

“4:20 a.m., the car pulls up to a mailbox. Something is left,” Hochul explained. “State Police immediately go to the mailbox and identify what is a ransom note that had been left behind for Charlotte.”

The note contained another message—a fingerprint. The mark on the letter linked the disappearance with a 1999 DWI case in the city of Saratoga. Police followed the lead to a camper where they recovered Sena, hidden inside a cupboard.

Ross was taken into custody at the scene and charged with felony kidnapping in the first degree shortly after. State Police anticipate additional charges to come.

Kidnappings like Sena’s are rare occurrences within the state.

The 2020 NYS Missing Persons Clearinghouse report released by the Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) found that most abductions are committed by family members, followed by acquaintances of the victim.

In contrast, “stranger abductions” are rare and according to the DCJS none were reported the year of the department’s analysis.

Police have not released any additional information regarding Ross’ relationship with the Sena family.

Patrick McCullough is a graduate student studying Library Science at Syracuse University. He is expected to graduate in May, 2026. As a student contributor at WAER, Patrick produces digital and audio stories.