A 9-year-old girl went missing during a bike ride while camping with her family in New York’s Moreau Lake State Park – and police searched the area for 18 hours before issuing an Amber Alert.
Charlotte Sena of Greenfield, N.Y., was enjoying a family outing Saturday night when she decided to take one last walk on her own around her picnic field, Gov. Kathy Hochul said in a news conference Sunday.
Sena, the niece of a local firefighter, set off on her bike to Loop A around 6:15 p.m. to prove she was “one of the big kids” but never returned.
Hochul said the girl’s family was distraught over the sudden disappearance.
“The family was here to create memories that would last a lifetime. Instead, it became every parent’s nightmare,” Hochul said.
When Sena didn’t return within 15 minutes, her family and fellow campers went looking for her. Police called to the scene of the accident around 6:47 p.m
The 9-year-old’s bike was found on Loop A when a 100-person search party consisting of state troopers, special forces, forest rangers, park police and civilian volunteers converged on the scene.
Since Sena’s disappearance, Lt. Col. Richard Mazzone of the New York State Police said his team conducted an extensive search of the park for 18 hours, with police assuming the child was no longer there.
At 9:45 a.m. Sunday, police issued an Amber Alert amid fears Sena may have been kidnapped while she was alone.
Mazzone revealed that in addition to issuing the warning, officials will continue to search the area for Sena, with a water search team also being deployed to check nearby waterways.
“We continue to use every resource at our disposal to find Charlotte and bring her home safely,” Mazzone said.
Sena was described as a white child with blonde hair, standing 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighing 90 pounds.
She was last seen wearing an orange tie-dye Pokémon shirt, dark blue pants, black Crocs and a gray bicycle helmet.
Officials described the fourth-grader as an intelligent and adventurous girl who was recently elected to her school’s student council.