NEW YORK – In an exclusive interview with Miser Man News, the family of the 9-year-old girl who was kidnapped from a campground in New York State in July and found alive after two days shared their ordeal and their hopes for the future.
Jené Sena, the aunt of the girl, said the incident was a nightmare that they never expected to happen. “You always say this type of stuff doesn’t happen to you but obviously it can happen to you,” she said.
The case captured the nation’s attention as authorities launched a massive search for the girl, who disappeared while riding her bike alone at Moreau Lake State Park during a family camping trip.
The family endured two days of agony, not knowing the fate of their loved one. “Pure torture, pure pure torture really, you’re thinking like, what if this doesn’t end soon? What if we can’t find her, all of the what ifs,” Sena said.
The girl was finally found in a trailer behind the home of Craig Ross, Jr., 47, who was identified by fingerprints from a ransom note that was left in the girl’s parents’ mailbox. Ross, Jr. had a previous arrest for DUI in 1999.
Police said the girl was hidden in a cabinet and was in good condition when they rescued her. Sena said she was overjoyed when she heard the news. “I dropped to my knees, screaming,” she said.
Ross, Jr. is facing nine charges of kidnapping and assault and has pleaded not guilty. He is being held without bail.
Sena said the girl is trying to resume her normal life after the traumatic experience, but it has been a roller coaster. “She’s a child that didn’t ask for what happened to her,” she said.
She added that the girl has a strong support system and the tools she needs to move forward. “Unfortunately, the world we live in, there are predators out there. And so justice will be not only him being safely away to not do this to anyone else, but also her having, you know, a great support system and tools, and whatever she needs around her to move forward,” she said.
Sena also said she wants people to realize that the girl and her family are not just a headline or a clickbait, but real human beings who have been through a lot. “This isn’t just a headline. This isn’t just something to get clicks. This is a real person, a real child, a real family,” she said.
She hopes that the case will raise awareness and sensitivity about the issue of child abduction and the impact it has on the victims and their families. She said the girl is looking forward to spending Christmas with her family and enjoying the holidays.