Recluse accused in Charlotte Sena abduction had domestic violence arrest

BALLSTON SPA, N.Y. – The “recluse” New York man accused of kidnapping a 9-year-old off her bike and demanding ransom from her horrified parents was arrested in 2017 on domestic violence charges that involved allegedly squeezing the victim’s neck.

The revelation comes shortly after a local newspaper alleged that Craig Ross Jr., 46, had recently been under investigation for accusations of child molestation until just last month and was wearing just his underpants when SWAT teams swarmed his camper Monday night.

State police told Fox News Digital that policy prevents them from confirming, denying or making any comment on investigations that did not lead to the prosecution of a crime.

MAN CLAIMING TO BE SON OF CHARLOTTE SENA KIDNAPPING SUSPECT BREAKS SILENCE: ‘HOPE HE DIES IN PRISON’

Craig Nelson Jr mugshot clean

Craig Ross Jr. was accused of kidnapping Charlotte Sena in New York. His criminal record, while including only misdemeanor allegations, involved an alleged domestic violence choking attempt. (Saratoga Sheriff’s Office)

“We have no history of arresting Craig N. Ross Jr. for any sexual related crimes,” New York State Police spokeswoman Stephanie O’Neil said Wednesday. 

Ross reportedly denied allegations that he molested a 12-year-old family friend more than a year ago and was never charged by the time state police dropped the investigation, according to the Albany Times-Union.

However, state police did arrest him years ago on domestic violence charges, after he allegedly “applied pressure on the throat of the victim” during a physical dispute, O’Neil told Fox News Digital.

Charlotte Sena GoFundMe photo

The Sena family released a new photo of Charlotte Sena Tuesday on a GoFundMe campaign to support the 9-year-old after New York State Police and federal tactical teams rescued her from a kidnapping suspect’s cabinet. (Sena Family/GoFundMe)

WHO IS CRAIG ROSS? NEW YORK ‘RECLUSE’ ACCUSED OF HIDING KIDNAPPED 9-YEAR-OLD IN CAMPER CABINET

He was arrested on April 21, 2017, on a charge of criminal obstruction of breathing at a home in Corinth. State police processed him in Wilton and he was arraigned in Moreau Town Court. Then he was released on his own recognizance on the misdemeanor charge, police said.

The disposition of the case was unclear. Officials in Moreau said they had no record of the case, which would have carried a maximum penalty of a year in jail, with a potential enhancement due to the alleged involvement of domestic violence.

New York State Police secure evidence at the home of Craig Nelson Ross Jr., on 2133 Barrett Road in Ballston Spa, N.Y. Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2023. Ross has been charged with the abduction of Charlotte Sena, a 9-year-old girl riding her bike through Moreau Lake State Park. (Hans Pennink for Fox News Digital)

On Saturday, Ross allegedly snatched Charlotte Sena from a family camping trip at Moreau Lake State Park, according to authorities. He hid her in a cabinet inside a camper parked on his mother’s property, about 13 miles south of his listed address.

A day after telling reporters he hoped his dad would die in prison, Ross’ son told Fox News Digital he had seen no warning signs.

Son of Craig Ross Jr wearing glasses and a lanyard around his neck

A man claiming to be the son of Craig Ross Jr. is seen on Warren Street in Corinth, N.Y., as he speaks to a reporter Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2023. Ross has been charged with the abduction of Charlotte Sena, a 9-year-old girl riding her bike through Moreau Lake State Park. (Hans Pennink for Fox News Digital)

The elder Ross allegedly showed up at the Sena family house around 4:20 a.m. Sunday to drop off a ransom note in their mailbox.

CHARLOTTE SENA KIDNAPPING SUSPECT CRAIG ROSS JR ARRAIGNED OVERNIGHT

State police were watching. They recovered the note, alerted area law enforcement of the vehicle’s description and allegedly found Ross’ fingerprints. Before the end of the day, they had rescued Charlotte and taken Ross into custody.

State and federal tactical teams, some of them flown in by helicopter, raided the camper parked on his mom’s property in Ballston Spa, according to Gov. Kathy Hochul.

NY Gov Kathy Hochul briefing reporters

Gov. Kathy Hochul gives her remarks after Charlotte Sena, of Greenfield, NY, who was on a family outing in Moreau Lake State Park when she went missing Saturday evening, was found safe Oct. 2, 2023. (Hans Pennink for Fox News Digital )

When they arrived, they allegedly found a resistant Ross inside wearing just his underpants, according to the Times-Union report.

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State police declined to address those details and said they would not comment on the specifics of an ongoing investigation.

Citing law enforcement sources, the paper reported that Ross was also accused of forcing the girl to write her own ransom note, demanding $50,000.

Police outside the home of the The son of the man who allegedly abducted Charlotte Sena

State police collect evidence at 13 Circle Drive in Porter Corners, New York, listed as the home of Craig Ross Jr., 2133 on court documents, Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2023. (Hans Pennick for Fox News Digital)

Ross, whose other prior encounters with law enforcement include a drunken driving case he pleaded guilty to in 1999, and a domestic dispute in 2016 that resulted in no charges, had also sued a woman in 2019 over a car crash. Both sides agreed to drop the case, records show. 

The kidnapping shocked the community, surrounding areas and people around the country just days after a stalking suspect named Charles Ross had been arrested nearby and then released without bail. After Craig Ross’ arrest, rumors surfaced that the two men were brothers. 

Despite the common last name, police told Fox News Digital they had “no indication” of a familial relation between the two.

New York State Police collect evidence at the home of Craig Ross Jr.

New York State Police collect evidence at the home of Craig Nelson Ross Jr. in Ballston Spa, New York on Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2023. Ross has been charged with the abduction of Charlotte Sena, a 9-year-old girl riding her bike through Moreau Lake State Park. (Hans Pennink for Fox News Digital )

Charles Ross was accused of stalking a woman at a park in Saratoga Springs, arrested and released without bail days before Charlotte’s abduction. He had a history of similar behavior, according to local reports.

As police shut down the park and launched a large-scale search and rescue effort over the weekend, they called in help from multiple state departments, including the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Services. 

That unit is typically tasked with capturing escaped prisoners, like the pair who fled the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora in 2015 and parolees who re-offend, according to Paul Mauro, a retired NYPD inspector. 

New York State Police collect evidence at the home of Craig Ross Jr.

New York State Police collect evidence at the home of Craig Nelson Ross Jr. in Ballston Spa, New York on Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2023. Ross has been charged with the abduction of Charlotte Sena, a 9-year-old girl riding her bike through Moreau Lake State Park. (Hans Pennink for Fox News Digital )

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And although the unit could have been involved for several reasons, he said, the announcement of its involvement prompted online speculation that authorities were looking for a serial predator, possibly Charles Ross, who reportedly had a history of similar behavior.

New York State Police collect evidence at the home of Craig Ross Jr.

The camper where police say they rescued 9-year-old Charlotte Sena is seen behind a double-wide trailer on a property owned by the suspect’s mother, who previously put up Halloween decorations in her front yard. New York State Police arrested Craig Nelson Ross Jr. on the property on Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2023. Ross has been charged with first-degree kidnapping. (Hans Pennink for Fox News Digital )

But police, who said they were conducting “due diligence” on all credible leads, downplayed that line of thinking.

“They have advanced training in search and rescue,” O’Neil said.



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