A Connecticut man is facing federal charges after he allegedly kidnapped and sexually assaulted a 16-year-old girl and held her captive in the trunk of his car while he drove to the Vermont-Canada border.
Vermont State Police said they are assisting U.S. Homeland Security with the investigation since the kidnapping was interrupted at the U.S.-Canadian border on Interstate 89.
The kidnapping was reported out of Connecticut when the suspect, 19-year-old Christopher Jesus Constanzo, allegedly abducted and sexually assaulted the victim. Police said he then held her in the trunk of his car while he drove from Connecticut toward the U.S. border crossing in Highgate Springs, Vermont.
Early Thursday morning, police said a 2007 green Toyota Camry with Connecticut license plates stopped at a convenience store in the greater Burlington area, at which time Constanzo removed the victim from the trunk and placed her in the back seat before continuing to the border. This is believed to have occurred at the Exit 16 Maplefields convenience store and may have been witnessed by at least one person.
That person has yet to come forward, so police are asking anyone who might have seen something out of the ordinary at the Exit 16 Champlain Farms or Maplefields convenience stores in Colchester between 3 and 7 a.m. Thursday to contact them at (802) 524-5993 or submit an anonymous tip online.
A store surveillance image from the Maplefields convenience store showed a man believed to be Constanzo at the counter around 3:40 a.m. Thursday, police said.
After leaving the store, he continued with the victim to the border, police said, where Canadian authorities denied him entry and ordered the car to return to the U.S. around 7:30 a.m. U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents then questioned the occupants, at which time the victim reported being held against her will and sexually assaulted.
Costanzo was taken into custody. No further information was immediately available.