Child who survived 47-hour abduction from NY park credited for airtight case against captor

An abducted girl's family stared directly at "the most evil human" in a New York courtroom and told him he was getting "what he deserves."

Craig Ross Jr., who admitted to kidnapping a 9-year-old girl and holding her captive for two days, was sentenced to 47 years to life in prison Wednesday as part of his plea deal. He admitted to multiple felonies, including first-degree kidnapping.

"When we are in this courtroom today, the lawyers will refer to my daughter as the victim," the girl's mom, Trisha Sena, told Fox News Digital in a text. "I understand that this is standard courtroom terminology, but I ask that when you leave today and choose to report on this case as you see fit, but please do not call her a victim.

"She is a survivor. She experienced something horrific, but she will overcome this. And she works hard every day to continue being a survivor. This horrific situation does not and will not define her."

Ross Jr. abducted the girl, who was 9 years old at the time, from an upstate New York park Sept. 30, 2023, and held her for 47 hours.

Law enforcement at every level — local to the FBI — swarmed Saratoga County, whose residents were on edge for days as police worked to identify a suspect and find the missing girl — if she was even still alive.

Miraculously, officers and federal agents found the girl alive and announced they had the kidnapper in custody before the end of the day Oct. 2, an outcome that's almost unheard of.

Then came the Pokémon T-shirt-wearing girl's unimaginable bravery. She told investigators everything, in detail, and essentially signed, sealed and delivered her captor's fate, according to her aunt, Jene Sena.

Craig Ross Jr., enters Saratoga County court in Ballston Spa, N.Y. for sentencing Wednesday, April 17, 2024. Ross Jr. pleaded guilty in February to kidnapping a nine-year-old girl from the Moreau Lake State Park. (Credit: Hans Pennink for Fox News Digital)

She "shocked family members and investigators with her ability to calmly and articulately recount every last detail, no matter how small, of what happened to her during those 47 hours," Jene Sena wrote in a story published on the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's website.

Sena thanked all the first responders and law enforcement, but the "real hero" is her niece.

"Not only kept herself alive during those harrowing hours, but also having the remarkable ability to put him away for life, so he can never harm another child ever again. SHE did that," she wrote. "The petite little angel who barely scrapes 5 feet tall went up against a giant scary monster – the boogeyman in the flesh – and she won.

"No one can ever take that away from her. Not all heroes wear capes. Mine wears a Pokemon T-shirt. "

As the survivor's mom and uncle read victim impact statements in Saratoga County Court, the girl's family told Fox News Digital Ross Jr. stayed quiet.

His silence continued as the judge admonished the admitted child kidnapper and handed down the sentence that likely puts Ross Jr. behind bars for the rest of his life.

"As we come out of the fog, my family can take some solace in knowing that the man who stole my adorable, sweet little 9-year-old niece from right under her parents’ noses and held her captive for two days while hundreds searched for her and an entire nation prayed for her, will be rotting in a 6x8 cell where he belongs for the rest of his life," Sena wrote.

Saratoga county conflict defender Matthew Maiello, left, stands with his client Craig Nelson Ross Jr. in Saratoga County court in Ballston Spa, N.Y. Wednesday, April 17, 2024. Ross Jr. pleaded guilty in February to kidnapping a nine-year-old girl fro (Credit: Hans Pennink for Fox News Digital)

Flash-bangs and ‘movie scene’ raid to rescue the survivor

Federal agents and police officers swarmed Ross Jr.'s neighbor's front lawn before they blasted through the camper door on the side of his mother's house with flash-bangs and found the missing girl alive in a cabinet.

"There was a rapid succession of at least five flash-bangs," according to the neighbor, Michael, who wished to keep his last name anonymous to protect his family. "It was a scene right out of a movie."

Micheal and his wife caught a glimpse of the rescued girl. His wife said she "just wanted to hug her and hold her until her mom came to get her and tell her she’s safe."

The couple said they saw the physical relief and jubilation from law enforcement, who they said hugged and high-fived each other.

Ross Jr.'s son had a tense exchange with Fox News Digital from his home in Porter Corners, New York.

"Yeah, he’s my father, but why do I have to deal with this s---?" he shouted without providing his name. "Everyone is asking me all this. I don’t know anything. I hate him and hope he dies in prison."

Now the case is over. Ross Jr. might not die in prison, but the 47-year-old convicted child kidnapper will be in his 90s by the time he's eligible for parole.


Brawl erupts over off-leash dog at Seattle's Cal Anderson Park

Florida man gets 20 years in prison for traveling to WA to sexually abuse teen

Patrons subdue suspect after deadly bar shooting near Tenino

Security guard kidnapped during Tumwater marijuana facility break-in

Get more from FOX News.