KNOX, N.Y. – The trailer where Kenneth White and his accused murderer, Tiffany VanAlstyne, lived is being investigated.
Flowers, balloons and stuffed animals have been left on the side of Thacher Park Road. Authorities said 19-year-old VanAlstyne murdered her own cousin, five-year-old Kenneth White, and then threw his body over the guard rail.
The alleged incident occurred on Thursday afternoon inside the trailer. Authorities said Tiffany’s mother, Brenda VanAlstyne had custody of Kenneth, his twin sister and younger sister.
“The bottom line is the biological parents walked away,” Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple said. “And custody, they didn’t show up at the hearing and custody was given to the aunt. That’s how that came about.”
Tiffany was charged with Second Degree Murder on Friday.
The town visited the trailer over the weekend. A sign on the door says it is unsafe for human occupancy.
The building inspector said he found six to eight code violations at the trailer. He said a few of them required immediate attention, and the family was not supposed to be living there.
“Two kids were in a room that I have cells that are bigger than that room,” Apple said. “I don’t think it’s conducive to send those kids back.”
Apple said the violations involved the wood burning stove which wasn’t properly ventilated. Instead, it was covered in duct tape. There were also electrical problems and parts of the floor were in danger of collapsing.
Brenda VanAlstyne and the trailer’s owner said she’s in the process of making repairs in hopes that Kenneth’s sisters will return. The two girls have been staying with a foster family. Sheriff Apple, however, said they should not be allowed to return to the trailer.
“The bottom line is I don’t think it’s a great place for those kids to go back to,” he said. “I hope they don’t go back to it.”
Tiffany remains in jail. The district attorney’s office said she waived her right to a preliminary hearing. The grand jury, though, will not get the case on Tuesday.
The sheriff’s office is now collecting donations for the two sisters.
“We’ve had contact with CPS, and they’re doing okay,” Apple said. “And I know the community has been great. I know Guilderland Police Department has got together with some clothes and toys. We’ve got probably a huge van load of toys for them, so the issue with their brother aside, the girls will hopefully have a good Christmas.”
There may be a custody hearing as early as Tuesday in hopes of keeping the sisters in foster care.