Charlotte Sena has been found alive, and a suspect is in custody, New York State police confirmed on October 2, 2023.
“Charlotte Sena has been located and in good health. A suspect is in custody. This is still an active investigation. More details will be released as they become available at nyspnews.com,” police wrote of the missing child.
The New York State Police news release was headlined, “Missing Saratoga County Child Found Safe.”
“On October 2, 2023, through the course of the investigation, State Police identified an individual as being in the area of the Moreau Lake State Park around the time Charlotte went missing,” police wrote. “Further investigation led to the search of multiple residences where the individual is known to reside. Upon the search of those residences, at approximately 6:32 p.m. on October 2, 2023, State Police located Charlotte Sena safe and in good health. The suspect was taken into custody.”
That confirmation came after WNYT reported, through sources, that the child had been located alive. “#BREAKING: Charlotte Sena, 9, has been found alive, sources tell NewsChannel 13’s Mark Mulholland. More to come,” the television station reported on its Facebook page. The station did not provide additional details.
The news came as the community, law enforcement and searchers convened on Moreau Lake State Park to look for the 9-year-old girl, who disappeared on September 30, 2023, while riding her bicycle, while camping with her family.
Here’s what you need to know:
The Suspect May Have Left a Ransom Note at the Home of Charlotte Sena’s Parents
The Albany Times-Union reported that the suspect has a “sexual abuse criminal history.”
In addition, the newspaper reported, via sources, that the 51-year-old suspect is accused of leaving a “note at Sena’s parents’ house — possibly demanding some type of ransom in her disappearance.”
The Times Union reported that the suspect has “to the Glens Falls area in Warren County,” and was “convicted of sodomy in 1997 and sentenced to up to 15 years in prison for plying young boys with drugs and engaging in sex acts with them.”
The Times Union reported that police raided “a house in Milton on Monday evening. That residence is on Barrett Road — off Middeline Road — about 13 miles south of where” Sena lives with her family.
Authorities have not yet confirmed that account. A senior investigator told the Times-Union that the investigation “is largely focused on theories that the child was pulled into a vehicle against her will or dragged into the woods.”
The Amber Alert for Charlotte Sena Was Cancelled as News Broke of the Suspect’s Arrest
The news that Sena was located came right after an Amber Alert for Sena was canceled, according to MissingKids.org.
Authorities have not yet released the suspect’s name or motive. They have also not explained how they located the suspect or the missing child.
Charlotte was brought to a local hospital, according to reporter Jacquie Slater, writing on Facebook.
Authorities Had Said Previously That They Thought Charlotte Sena Was Possibly Abducted
In an October 1, 2023, press conference, Lt. Col. Richard Mazzone of the New York State Police said it is “quite possible an abduction has taken place.” According to Mazzone, Charlotte’s bike was discovered at 6:45 p.m., a half hour after she went missing while campaign with her parents, David and Trisha Sena.
A massive search effort ignited to find the child, and New York’s Governor Kathy Hochul spoke at the news conference on October 1.
“I promised her parents we’ll find their daughter. She’s all of our daughters,” Hochul said. “Their family needs love. They need prayers. And if you know anything, if you’ve seen anything, you hear anything, please contact 911 to tell us what you know and what you may contribute to the search for this little girl.”
Charlotte Sena Was Last Seen Wearing Black Crocs & an Orange Tie-Dye Pokemon Shirt
The governor explained how Charlotte disappeared when she went for a loop on her bicycle by herself.
According to the governor, “It wasn’t dark, it’s right around dinnertime,” when Charlotte “did a couple of loops with close friends she considers her cousins. And then she decided after going around, she said she’s finally going around one more time by herself. Be that big girl, do it by herself. Literally 15 minutes later, she hadn’t come back yet. And that’s really when the nightmare begins.”
Her parents knew immediately something was up. They called her name. People started searching, people from other campgrounds joined. And 30 minutes later, at 6:47, Charlotte’s mother, Trisha, called 911. The scene was chaotic. People leaving their food, leaving their tables, just everyone in search, calling the name, ‘Charlotte, Charlotte.’ By 7:00 p.m., the state police were on site. And for the last 18 hours—18 plus hours teams from the New York State Police, dogs, aviation, our bloodhounds are here. The sword operators, special response teams are on site. New York State Park Police, forest rangers, underwater rescue teams and drones. We brought in technology experts also to analyze other forms of communications in the park at that time.
According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the child was last seen near Loop A, Site 18, in Gansevoort, New York at about 6:45 p.m. on September 30, 2023.
Charlotte E. Sena “is a White female, approximately 9 years 1 month old with long, blonde hair and green eyes. She is approximately 4 feet 6 inches tall and weighs about 90 pounds,” the center says.
“Charlotte was last seen wearing Orange tie-dye Pokemon shirt, dark blue pants, black crocs, gray bike helmet,” the center wrote before Charlotte was found. “The child was taken under circumstances that lead police to believe that they are in imminent danger of serious harm and/or death. Anyone with any information on this abduction is asked to call the New York State Police at (518) 457-6811 or dial 911 to provide information on a report or sighting.”