SARATOGA COUNTY, N.Y. (TCD) — An Upstate New York man was arraigned on multiple charges, including sexual assault, for allegedly abducting a 9-year-old girl from a campsite in late September.
Craig Ross Jr. appeared in Saratoga County Court on Friday, Nov. 17, and pleaded not guilty to first-degree kidnapping, four counts of predatory sexual assault, two counts of first-degree sexual abuse, second-degree assault, and endangering the welfare of a child in connection with the girl’s alleged kidnapping that occurred between Sept. 30 and Oct. 2.
A judge ordered him to be held without bail.
WYNT-TV reports if Ross is convicted, he could face up to life in prison for the kidnapping charge alone.
On Sept. 30, the young girl went for a bike ride around Lake Moreau State Park at around 6:15 p.m. but never returned. Her parents reported her missing about 30 minutes later. Over 100 law enforcement officials and personnel participated in the search until she was found inside a cabinet in Ross’ home Oct. 2.
According to New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, on Oct. 2 at 4:20 a.m., Ross reportedly drove to the girl’s home, which was being guarded by New York State Police troopers, and left something in the mailbox. Troopers reportedly noticed the vehicle and opened the mailbox, where they found a ransom note.
New York State Police investigators attempted to find a fingerprint match but were unsuccessful on their first try. They searched again through the New York State database, which reportedly linked them to Ross, who was caught driving under the influence in Saratoga in 1999. Investigators tracked the suspect to Ross’ mother’s home. He reportedly resided in a camper behind the residence.
New York State Police detectives conducted a “dynamic entry” tactical maneuver and located Ross.
According to Hochul, the girl “knew she was being rescued” and that she “was in safe hands.”
Ross was initially arrested on a charge of first-degree kidnapping.
WNYT reports Saratoga County District Attorney Karen Heggen said at Ross’ court hearing last week that he “committed a heinous, terrible offense against a tender age victim.”
- Ballston Spa Man Arraigned in Saratoga County Court on Kidnapping, Predatory Sexual Assault Against A Child and Other Charges – Saratoga County District Attorney’s Office
- Man pleads not guilty in girl’s kidnapping in Moreau – WNYT
- Governor Hochul Provides Update on Rescue of Charlotte Sena, 10/2/2023 – New York Governor’s Office
- 9-year-old girl found safe after going missing in upstate N.Y. park while riding her bicycle, 10/2/2023 – TCD
- Man accused of kidnapping 9-year-old at N.Y. campsite allegedly left ransom note in her family’s mailbox, 10/5/2023 – TCD
- Ballston Spa Man Charged with Kidnapping of Saratoga County Child, 10/2/2023 – New York State Police
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