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Connecticut man to be returned to state to face federal kidnapping charge

A Torrington man will be moved back to Connecticut from Vermont to face a federal charge that he kidnapped a girl and tried to take her into Canada.

Christopher Constanzo, 19, attended a hearing Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Vermont, where he has been in custody since Thursday. Assistant U.S. attorneys in Vermont and Connecticut agreed that a kidnapping charge will be prosecuted in Connecticut and the current Vermont case will be dismissed. The charge carries a mandatory minimum term of 25 years in prison and a maximum of life behind bars.
Parents of the 16-year-old girl who was with Constanzo when he was refused entry into Canada Thursday morning had reported her missing Wednesday night. The girl told investigators she met Constanzo through a mutual friend. She said she went with him voluntarily on Wednesday night, but that he sexually assaulted her at Stillwater Pond State Park in Torrington at about 9 p.m. and then forced her into the trunk of a Toyota Camry registered to her mother, keeping her there until about 4 a.m. on Thursday, the federal affidavit says.
At some point in the night, the girl told authorities, Constanzo removed her from the trunk and raped her again, but she could not tell where they were, the affidavit says.
During the trip, Constanzo used the girl’s cellphone, sending messages pretending to be her, federal officials said. As they approached the border crossing at Highgate Springs, Vermont, Constanzo told the girl to “act normal” and “go along with the story,” the affidavit says.
He told Canadian border officials at the Saint-Armand Philipsburg crossing that the girl was his sister and they planned to visit friends in Canada and stay for about four days, U.S. officials said, but Canadian officials denied Constanzo and the girl entry because neither had proof of COVID tests.
Federal officials say Constanzo also is a suspect in a sexual assault case in Torrington from July of this year.
Jesse Leavenworth can be reached at jleavenworth

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