Charlotte Sena kidnapping suspect eyed in 2 cold case murders nearby; profiler addresses potential connection
The shocking arrest of a suspected ransom kidnapper in upstate New York has refocused attention on a pair of unsolved slayings in the same immediate area in Saratoga County.
Christina White and Jennifer “Moonbeam” Hammond, ages 19 and 18 respectively, vanished two years apart and were later found dumped in rural Greenfield, New York.
White’s skeletal remains were recovered a year after she vanished near Daketown Road in June 2005, and authorities said she had been stabbed in the gut. Her phone, wallet and a knife she usually carried were missing.
Hammond, a Colorado native, was last seen in August 2003 when co-workers dropped her off at the Creek and Pines Trailer Park, off Middleline Road in Ballston Spa, where she was going door to door to sell magazines, according to authorities.
She never arrived at the designated pickup spot to meet her boss. Her belongings were found in her hotel, and a purchased bus ticket back to Colorado was never used.
She remained missing for six years before someone found her skull near Lake Desolation Road. Police have not revealed her cause of death.
The best predictor of present or future behavior is past behavior. So, has he ever abducted in the past?
Authorities in 2017 told local media they believed the cases may be linked, and both have received renewed attention after the nearby abduction of a 9-year-old girl named Charlotte Sena, which garnered national attention.
Craig Nelson Ross Jr., the man accused of kidnapping Charlotte off of her bike in the Moreau Lake State Park Sept. 30, has spent decades living in and around such parks. Police rescued the little girl from a camper parked on his mother’s property on Barrett Road Monday.
“He’s alleged to have abducted her, but we also know that the best predictor of present or future behavior is past behavior,” said John Kelly, a criminal profiler and the president of STALK Inc. “So, has he ever abducted in the past?”
Whoever killed White and Hammond likely knew the area well and may have had a preference for redheads, Kelly said. He noted the proximity of the places where they were last seen and where their remains were found about 10 miles away. Both also had auburn hair.
“Many killers are interested in certain physical characteristics of their victims, which are usually part of their fantasy,” he told Fox News Digital. “Both victims were found in the deep woods of upstate New York in Greenfield.”
Both victims also vanished near trailer parks in the county, Kelly said.
Ross has not been named a suspect in either cold case, but the alleged attempt to demand ransom from Charlotte’s family has community members scrutinizing their reclusive longtime neighbor.
“At this time, we have no information to indicate that he was or was not involved,” Matthew Robinson of the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office told the Albany Times-Union.
As a routine step, investigators will look into Ross’s possible connection to any outstanding cases in their jurisdiction, he said.
Still, Kelly said, there’s little publicly known evidence of a connection.
“He does have a history of violence, but he does not have much of a criminal history,” he said.
Both cold case victims were in their late teens. Motives for the murders of White and Hammond remain unclear. There was an alleged ransom demand after Charlotte’s abduction.
Ross’s first documented run-in with the law was a 1999 DWI conviction in the city of Saratoga Springs. That decades-ago arrest led to his capture after police say they found his fingerprints on a ransom note placed in the Sena family mailbox.
After that, he was accused of a couple of misdemeanors, aggravated harassment in 2016 and domestic violence in 2017.
With the new attention, Kelly said he’s hopeful someone will come forward with new tips for investigators.
Anyone with information on either the White or Hammond cases is asked to call the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office at 518-885-6761.