1 of 3 | Authorities on Monday intensified their search for Charlotte Sena, a 9-year-old girl who disappeared over the weekend at Moreau State Park in upstate New York. Late Monday, authorities reported that she had been found "in good health." Photo courtesy New York State Police
Oct. 2 (UPI) -- Police late Monday said a 9-year-old girl has been found "in good health" after she went missing at an upstate New York park over the weekend. A suspect is in custody after a ransom note sent to the girl's parents was tested for fingerprints.
"Charlotte Sena has been located and in good health. A suspect is in custody," New York State Police said in a statement. Officers said they had "identified an individual as being in the area of the Moreau Lake State Park around the time Charlotte went missing."
Police said they searched "multiple residences" where the suspect was known to live and eventually found Sena, who had been reported missing Sunday after riding her bike at the park. According to the Times-Union of Albany, the suspect was a 51-year-old with a criminal record of sexual abuse.
While police did not identify the suspect or how Sena was found, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul told CNN on Monday evening that the girl's parents had received a ransom note at their home and that fingerprints on the note matched those in a law enforcement database.
"It was extraordinary to see how they traced it down to an individual's home," Hochul said. "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."
Hochul said she is elated the girl has been found and is safe.
"We are overjoyed at the news that Charlotte Sena has been located safely this evening after an intense days-long search," Hochul said in a statement issued late Monday. "Our hearts are with her family as they welcome her home. Thank you to the New York State Police, New York Park Police and all who worked so tirelessly to find Charlotte. It is because of their efforts that Charlotte will be able to return home safe to her family."
Earlier in the day, a contingent of searchers including numerous state police officers ramped up their search for the missing girl.
Lines of New York State Police vehicles, FBI agents, a busload of volunteers and other searchers gathering on foot were seen entering Moreau State Park on Monday morning, 36 hours after Sena was reported missing by her parents, the Albany, N.Y., Times-Union reported.
Hochul had said on Sunday the search team included more than 100 personnel, with 75 police officers on the ground in the park, as well as drones, an airboat search team, six underwater rescue teams and another boat equipped with sonar.
"We are leaving no stone, no branch, no table, no cabin unturned, untouched, unexamined in our search to find Charlotte," she told reporters, adding, "I promised her parents we'll find their daughter. She's all of our daughters. Their family needs love. They need prayers."
New York State Police Lt. Col. Richard Mazzone said Sena was last seen at 6:15 p.m. Saturday riding her bike on a trail in the 6,250-acre park, located about 45 miles north of Albany.
After her parents noticed she was missing, they began a search and found her bike left unattended on a loop trail, leading to fears she had been abducted. Shortly thereafter they called emergency responders.
An Amber Alert was issued Sunday morning with Sena described as 4-feet, 6-inches tall and weighing about 90 pounds. The blonde hair, green-eyed girl was wearing a Pokemon shirt, blue pants and black Crocs on Saturday when she went missing.
After Sena's rescue Monday night, New York State Police canceled the Amber Alert, saying "Charlotte has been found safe and in good health."
"We cannot emphasize enough how appreciative we are for the support we received from Charlotte's community, friends and family," officers added.