BERNE, N.Y. – A 19-year-old woman has been charged in the death of a five-year-old.
The Albany County Sheriff’s Office have announced the arrest of 19-year-old Tiffany Van Alstyne for the murder of Kenneth White. She is charged with second degree murder. She pleaded not guilty.
Van Alstyne was the babysitter and cousin to White. Her mother, Brenda Van Alstyne had custody of Kenneth and his two siblings.
“We’ve got a five year old twin sister and four year old little sister of Kenneth White that will never see their brother again. At the same time I’m angry, that we had a five year old taken from us, a senseless death. And quite honestly thrown away like a piece of trash and its sinful and its sad,” said Apple.
The arrest came a few hours after Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple announced that the accusations of two masked men abducting the five year old in Berne on Thursday were false reports.
Apple was visibly emotional during Friday’s press conference on Kenneth’s homicide. He said that the child’s body was found in a culvert across from 994 Thacher Park Road by a K-9 Officer. He was buried under snow.
Brenda Van Alstyne said she was not home at the time of the murder and that her daughter told her the same story that she told police.
“She loved the children. She would do anything for them. She taught them school and everything. This is a shock to me. I don’t understand,” said Brenda Van Alstyne.
An autopsy revealed that the cause of death was asphyxia due to strangulation and blunt force trauma.
Police do not have a motive for the death at this time.
While in court, Tiffany Van Alstyne was asked if she takes any medications and the woman began to cry, telling the judge she takes medicine for a bipolar disorder.
At the press conference, Albany County District Attorney David Soares said “We should hold our children and family members a little closer,” following the arrest of Van Alstyne.
Authorities initially issued an Amber Alert after a report that five-year-old Kenneth White was taken from his home on Thacher Park Road in East Berne Thursday afternoon. Police were on the lookout for a black four door pickup truck after they were told two masked men came into the home and took the boy. The Sheriff’s Office say Van Alstyne placed the initial report.
“At this point it’s safe to say that the reports of the masked men in the black truck, those are false,” says Apple.
The Amber Alert for White was cancelled around 11:45 Thursday evening after the body of the child was recovered by a K-9 officer near the child’s home.
On Friday morning, officers were interviewing Van Alstyne
“We caught some contradictions in a few different statements that were taken so, few flags had popped,” explained Apple.
On Friday morning, the Berne-Knox-Westerlo School District released a statement on their website regarding the death of one of their elementary school students.
Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple said that it was reported to police that one man held down Van Alstyne, who was watching the boy, while the other grabbed him.
Authorities said Kenneth was living with a custodial family member who was not his parents. His biological father, Jason White, lives in Massachusetts, and his mother, Christine White, lives in Amsterdam. Both parents were brought in by police to assist in the case.
“This case is not over. We have a five year old that was taken from us. It was a senseless death. We want our i’s dotted and t’s crossed,” says Apple.
There were two other children inside the home – a three and a four year old. They were not taken. It is unclear why Kenneth was targeted.
Kenneth leaves behind a twin sister and a four year old sister. Police are looking into the welfare of those children and the conditions inside the home.
Van Alstyne was remanded to Albany County Jail without bail.