The video above is from previous reporting.
NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — A 19-year-old from Torrington accused of kidnapping a teen girl in Connecticut and trying to take her to Canada is now facing a federal kidnapping charge.
Christopher Jesus Constanzo was charged by a federal criminal complaint issued in the District of Connecticut with kidnapping a minor.
He was originally charged with this offense in the District of Vermont. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut, he appeared before a judge virtually Tuesday and agreed to remain in custody pending his transfer to Connecticut for further prosecution.
Vermont State Police were helping federal agents investigate the kidnapping that was thwarted on Dec. 2 when the suspect and victim were stopped at the Canadian border.
At the time, troopers said Constanzo abducted and 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 I-89.
At about 3:40 a.m. that day, state police said Constanzo stopped at a convenience store off Exit 16 in Maplefields and allegedly moved the girl to the back seat of his 2007 Toyota before continuing north.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, it is alleged in court documents that Constanzo sexually assaulted the girl a second time after removing her from the trunk of the vehicle.
Troopers 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 attempted to enter Canada at the Highgate Springs border crossing in Vermont but was ordered to return to the U.S. State police said Customs and Border Protection agents then questioned Constanzo and the girl, who told agents she was being held against her will and was sexually assaulted.
The federal criminal complaint alleges that Constanzo is the subject of a pending sexual assault investigation in Connecticut for another incident that occurred earlier this year.
The kidnapping charge carries a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 25 years and a maximum term of imprisonment of life. The penalties are enhanced because the victim is a minor.
The Vermont State Police is assisting Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) on the case.
Investigators are asking anyone who has information or saw something out of the ordinary at the Exit 16 Champlain Farms or Maplefields convenience stores in Colchester between 3 a.m. and 7 a.m. Thursday to contact authorities.
Any witnesses can 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.