Troopers with the Vermont State Police are helping federal agents investigate an attempted kidnapping that was thwarted early Thursday when the suspect was arrested at the Canadian border.
Police say Christopher Jesus Constanzo, 19, sexually assaulted a 16-year-old girl in Connecticut, then put her in the trunk of his car and drove toward the U.S. border on Interstate 89.
At about 3:40 a.m. Thursday, Constanzo stopped at a convenience store off Exit 16, police said, and allegedly moved the girl to the back seat of his 2007 Toyota before continuing north.
Police said at least one person, who has yet to come forward, witnessed Constanzo allegedly remove the girl from the trunk.
At about 7:30 a.m., Constanzo attemped to enter Canada at the Highgate Springs border crossing, but was ordered to return to the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents then questioned Constanzo and the girl, who told agents she had been assaulted and was being held against her will.
Constanzo was arrested. Police have not yet said what charges he will face.
Meanwhile, state police are working with Homeland Security investigators and are searching for potential witnesses. They are asking anyone who may have seen the suspect and the girl at the Exit 16 Champlain Farms or Maplefields convenience stores in Colchester between 3 a.m. and 7 a.m. Thursday to call Detective Sgt. Angela Baker at the Vermont State Police barracks in St. Albans at 802-524-5993. Tips also may be submitted anonymously online at http://vsp.vermont.gov/tipsubmit.