According to police, a babysitter in Upstate New York bashed her five-year-old cousin in the head and strangled him to death before throwing his body over a guardrail into a ditch and covering it with snow.
Tiffany Vanalstyne, 19, allegedly then called police and made up a story about little Kenneth White being kidnapped by two masked men in order to cover her tracks, prompting authorities to conduct a desperate search across Albany County, New York, for the boy.
‘I’m angry that we had a five-year-old k*illed and thrown away like trash. It’s sinful and sad,’ said Sheriff Craig Apple, visibly shaken by the heinous mu*rder.
According to police, Kenneth was brutally murdered while his twin sister Cheyenne and little sister Christine were playing in another room of the trailer where they lived in rural Knox, New York.
Today, Vanalstyne was charged with second-degree mu*rder. Brenda Vanalstyne, her mother, told a judge that her daughter has bipolar disorder and is on medication for it.
Authorities have refused to comment on the mur*der’s possible motive.
After both their mother and father lost custody of the children, Kenneth, Cheyenne, and Christine were cared for by their aunt Brenda. They had been living with Brenda Vanalstyne for over a year, and she had been granted legal custody about nine months prior.
The children’s mother lives 25 miles away in Amsterdam, New York. Their father currently resides in Massachusetts.
Authorities have described the conditions inside the red-and-white striped building as dangerous, and they are working to ensure Kenneth’s two sisters never return.
According to police, Brenda Vanalstyne dropped the three White children off at home after a doctor’s appointment on Thursday and left her daughter Tiffany to babysit them.
Authorities believe Tiffany Vanalstyne mu*rdered Kenneth just minutes after Brenda left the house on Thursday afternoon.
She then carried his body down the road and dumped it in a ditch. Police say she covered it with snow so passing cars wouldn’t see it.
Tiffany Vanalstyne called her mother after the mur*der to tell her that Kenneth had been kidnapped by two masked men who barged into the trailer and pinned her to the ground.
Brenda, who was only a few minutes away from home, instructed her daughter to dial 911.
Police immediately issued an Amber Alert and launched a massive search for the getaway vehicle, a black pickup truck described by Vanalstyne.
State police, US Marshals, and the FBI assisted local officers in the search, which began around 1.30 p.m.
Sheriff Apple stated that as they questioned Vanalstyne about the kidnapping, her story began to unravel – she was inconsistent, and many of the details made no sense.
The hunt for Kenneth and the mysterious black truck continued, but detectives also began to look into Vanalstyne.
The dreadful discovery was made by a police dog shortly before midnight. Kenneth’s body was discovered in the snow about 40 yards from the trailer.
Sheriff Apple stated that the horrific Christmastime mu*rder has shaken even the most seasoned detectives on his force.
His eyes welled up with tears as he described going home to hug his three sons at a lovely conference.
Tiffany was given the opportunity to speak after pleading guilty. “I want to say that those kids meant the world to me, and I loved them very much,” she said, breaking down. Kenneth and the girls were both people I adored. He was my little pal and will always have a special place in my heart. I sincerely apologize for what I did. I wish I could undo everything, but I can’t.”
Tiffany VanAlstyne, center, is led out of Albany County Court on Thursday, January 14, 2016, after being sentenced for the mur*der of Kenneth White.
Tiffany’s family, including Kenneth’s mother, Christine, would support her. Christine would say outside of court that she loved her son more than anything else in the world, but she also loved her niece: “People need to realize the kind of girl Tiffany really was with my children – because she was good with them.” This is a tragedy, and it hurts that no one truly understands the person she was.”
A judge later ruled that Kenneth’s two sisters were also abused while living with the family. The youngest girl, who was described as developing slowly, was beaten with a large object. He admitted that Tiffany had beaten them as well, but added that Brenda had used corporal punishment to discipline the children. The children had begged their birth mother on several occasions not to return them to the trailer because Tiffany had hit them. In Albany County Family Court, Christine and the children’s father would both admit to neglect. Kenneth’s two younger sisters would be removed from the home and taken in by child protection services following his mu*rder. Their great-aunt, Michelle Sweet, would be granted custody of the girls.
Kenneth received far more love and respect in death than he did in life. The community rallied in his honor, and a support group called “Kenneth’s Army” was formed in his honor.