NATIONAL NEWS

Guilty plea from the man accused of kidnapping a 9-year-old girl from an upstate New York park

Feb 22, 2024, 5:09 AM

BALLSTON SPA, N.Y. (AP) — A man accused of kidnapping a 9-year-old girl from a state park in upstate New York pleaded guilty to two felony counts and faces 47 years to life in prison.

Craig N. Ross Jr. pleaded guilty Wednesday under a plea deal to first-degree kidnapping and predatory sexual assault of a child, according to local media.

Ross was charged in the abduction of the girl on Sept. 30 from Moreau Lake State Park, located in a rural area about 35 miles (60 kilometers) north of Albany. A search involving more than 100 people ended two days later when state police troopers and an FBI SWAT team stormed a camper Ross was staying in. Rescuers found the girl in a cabinet.

Ross, 46, had faced additional charges of sexual abuse, assault and endangering the welfare of a child. His trial was scheduled to begin April 8.

He now faces 25 years to life in prison for first-degree kidnapping and 22 years to life for predatory sexual assault against a child when he is sentenced on April 17. The sentences will be served consecutively.

“He will be 93 years old when he’s even eligible to talk about parole consideration,” Saratoga County District Attorney Karen Heggen said after the hearing, according to the Times-Union of Albany.

The break in the kidnapping case came after officers stationed at the girl’s home saw someone drop a ransom note in the family’s mailbox before dawn. State police matched fingerprints on the note to Ross, who was in a database because of a 1999 drunken driving case.

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Guilty plea from the man accused of kidnapping a 9-year-old girl from an upstate New York park