Man accused of kidnapping 16-year-old girl arrested in Highgate

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ST. ALBANS — State police say they are assisting federal law-enforcement authorities investigating a kidnapping that was interrupted yesterday at the U.S. border with Canada on Interstate 89.

Investigators are asking that anyone who 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.

The kidnapping was reported in Connecticut when the suspect, 19-year-old Christopher Jesus Constanzo, abducted and sexually assaulted a 16-year-old female victim.

Constanzo is then reported to have held the victim in the trunk of his car while he drove from Connecticut toward the U.S. border crossing in Highgate Springs, Vermont.

Early Thursday morning, the car was stopped at a convenience 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 and may have been witnessed by at least one person.

That person has yet to come forward, and police are asking that the witness do so as soon as possible.

A store surveillance image from the Maplefields shows a man believed to be Constanzo at the counter at about 3:40 a.m. Thursday.

Constanzo continued with the victim to the border, where Canadian authorities denied entry and ordered the vehicle to return to the United States at about 7:30 a.m. Thursday.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents then questioned the occupants of the vehicle, at which time the victim reported being held against her will and sexually assaulted.

Constanzo was taken into custody and is expected to face federal charges.

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