A 9-year-old girl who was missing for about 48 hours has been found safe and sound and a man is now facing charges after a massive manhunt in upstate New York, according to authorities.
Fingerprints left on a ransom note helped successfully conclude the girl’s mysterious disappearance over the weekend, Gov. Kathy Hochul said Monday night.
That footprint, he said in a new conference, belonged to Craig Ross Jr. The 47-year-old has since been charged with first-degree kidnapping and is being held in custody without bail.
Hochul said that while the rest of the girl’s family remained at the camp where she had disappeared, police guarding her home saw someone drop a note in her mailbox at 4:20 a.m. Monday. State police took fingerprints from the note and the second matched Ross, who was in a database from a 1999 DWI case, the governor said.
Law enforcement linked Ross to a property owned by his mother, entered and found him in a mobile home around 6:30 p.m., he said.
“After some resistance, the suspect was detained and the girl was immediately found in a cabinet,” Hochul said. “She knew they were rescuing her. She knew she was in good hands.”
The 9-year-old girl was taken to a local hospital, as is customary, Hochul said, adding that she appeared physically unharmed and that she and her family had been reunited.
Hundreds of law enforcement officers, park rangers and others spent two days searching the park for the girl who went missing during a camping trip over the weekend. Police feared she had been kidnapped while she was riding her bicycle Saturday night in Moreau Lake State Park, about 35 miles north of Albany.
The girl, a fourth-grader from nearby Greenfield, had been riding her bike around a loop in the bucolic park with other children when she decided to take one more ride alone. Her parents became alarmed when she did not return after 15 minutes, Gov. Kathy Hochul said at a briefing Sunday.
The girl’s mother called 911 after her bike was found around 6:45 p.m. Saturday.
About 400 people participated in the search Monday, up from more than 100 the day before, state police said. Searchers included state and local police, forest rangers, local volunteer firefighters and some private search and rescue groups, authorities said. Authorities also requested help from the FBI.
Authorities issued an Amber Alert Sunday morning after an extensive search because “it was very possible that a kidnapping had occurred,” said state police Lt. Col. Richard Mazzone. The alert described her as a white girl with blonde hair and green eyes who is approximately 4 feet, 6 inches tall.
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