Cops: Woman killed boy, falsely reported abduction
BERNE, N.Y. (AP) -- A 19-year old New York woman is accused of killing a 5-year-old cousin in her care and then calling in a false report that two masked intruders took the boy from their Albany-area home.
Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple says Tiffany VanAlstyne is being arraigned on a second-degree murder charge in the killing of Kenneth White.
He says VanAlstyne strangled the boy and tossed his body "like a piece of trash" into a culvert across the street sometime before making the bogus 911 call Thursday afternoon in the town of Berne.
VanAlstyne's parents have been the legal guardians of Kenneth, his twin sister and a 4-year-old sister since September.
Apple declined to comment on a motive. It wasn't immediately known if VanAlstyne has a lawyer.
The death of a 5-year-old boy is being treated as a homicide after investigators determined a caretaker lied when she told them he had been abducted from an Albany-area home by two masked men, New York authorities said Friday.
Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple said the body of Kenneth White was found by a sheriff's dog during an overnight search in the rural hamlet of Clarksville, 10 miles southwest of Albany.
Apple said the 19-year-old daughter of Kenneth's legal guardians told police two men wearing black ski masks entered a house in the neighboring town of Berne, pinned her to the floor and took the child at about 1:30 p.m. Thursday. She told police the men drove off in a pickup truck, touching off an Amber Alert.
Apple told WGY-AM on Friday morning that investigators determined the teen's story was false. He said detectives were interviewing "a person of interest" who knew the boy, but he gave no other details. More information was expected to be released Friday afternoon.
Kenneth's mother lives elsewhere in New York and his father lives in Massachusetts, Apple said. Neither parent is the person being questioned by detectives, he said.
Apple said the boy had a twin sister and a 4-year-old sister.
News of the boy's death shocked residents in the rural hill towns west of Albany, described by Apple as a close-knit area.
"Everybody's devastated," said Lauren Tracey, a mother of two who lives nearby but doesn't know the family. "It was a little nerve-wracking. It's basically in my backyard."
Kenneth lived in a red-and-white striped mobile home in Berne. The home, with Christmas decorations in the snow out front, sits along a two-lane rural road with a few homes nearby. Police vehicles were parked outside Friday morning, blocking the road.
"It's horrific, it's heart-wrenching," Apple told the Albany radio station. "It's certainly not the ending we were praying for."