A missing girl has been found safe after police used fingerprints left on a ransom note to track her down.

Charlotte Sena, 9, disappeared on Saturday while riding her bicycle in New York state, triggering a huge 48-hour search by hundreds of people.

A ransom note was later delivered to the family home, which officials said contained the suspect’s fingerprints.

Police were able to identify him, as the print was on their database linked to a drink-driving incident from 1999.

He was located at a property owned by his mother and arrested.

“After some resistance, the suspect was taken into custody and immediately the little girl was found in a cabinet,” New York Governor Kathy Hochul said at a news conference on Monday night. “She knew she was being rescued. She knew that she was in safe hands.

“What happened was extraordinary,” she said.

The governor named the suspect as Craig Nelson Ross Jr, 47, and said he was still being questioned. Police said the investigation was still active.

Charlotte’s family were on a camping trip when she went missing on Saturday in a wooded area of Moreau Lake State Park, a popular site about 45 miles (72km) north of Albany.

It was “every parent’s worst nightmare”, Gov Hochul said, adding that she had received anxious phone calls from around the country during the hunt.

After Charlotte’s disappearance, a ransom note was dropped through the letterbox of her family home in the early hours of Monday. Police who were monitoring the building collected it and identified the fingerprints.

The investigation was further assisted by mobile phone data and park visitor records, Gov Hochul told CNN.

Charlotte was “safe and in good health”, officers said, but had been taken to hospital as a precautionary measure.


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