Tiffany VanAlstyne strangled and brutally murdered 5-year-old cousin in front of his twin and little sister

Tiffany VanAlstyne strangled and brutally murdered 5-year-old cousin in front of his twin and little sister

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, police have revealed.

Tiffany Vanalstyne, 19, then allegedly called police to made up a story about little Kenneth White being kidnapped by two masked men in an effort to cover her tracks - sending authorities on a desperate search across Albany County, New York to find the boy.

'I'm angry that we had a five-year-old killed and basically thrown away like a piece of trash. It's sinful and it's sad,' Sheriff Craig Apple, who was visibly shaken by the horrific murder.

Kenneth was brutally murdered as his twin sister Cheyenne and little sister Christine were playing in another room in the trailer where they lived in rural Knox, New York, police say.

Vanalstyne was charged with second-degree murder today. Her mother Brenda Vanalstyne told a judge that her daughter suffers from bipolar disorder, which she takes medication for.

Authorities have refused to comment on a possible motive for the murder.

Kenneth, Cheyenne, Christine were being cared for by their aunt Brenda after both their mother and father lost custody of the children. They lived with Brenda Vanalstyne for for more than a year and she had been granted legal custody about nine months ago.

The mother of the children lives 25 miles away in Amsterdam, New York. Their father lives in Massachusetts.

Authorities described conditions inside the red-and-white striped as dangerous and are working to make sure Kenneth's two sisters never return there.

Police say that after a doctor's appointment on Thursday, Brenda Vanalstyne dropped the three White children and at home and left her daughter Tiffany to babysit them.

Tiffany Vanalstyne killed Kenneth just minutes after Brenda left the home on Thursday afternoon, authorities believe.

She then took his body down the road and threw it into a ditch. She covered it with snow to ensure it couldn't be seen by passing cars, police say.

After the murder, Tiffany Vanalstyne called her mother and told her that Kenneth had been kidnapped by two masked men who barged into the trailer and pinned her to the ground.

Brenda, who was just minutes from home, told her daughter to call 911.

Police immediately initiated an Amber Alert and launched a massive search for a black pickup truck that Vanalstyne described as the getaway vehicle.

State police, the US Marshals and the FBI joined local officers in in the hunt, which began about 1.30pm.

Sheriff Apple said that as they continued to question Vanalstyne about the kidnapping her story began to fall apart - she was inconsistent and many of the details didn't make sense.

The search for Kenneth and the mysterious black truck continued, but detectives began to investigate Vanalstyne, as well.

Shortly before midnight, a police dog made the grim discovery. Kenneth's body was buried in snow about 40 yards down the road from the trailer.

Sheriff Apple said the horrific Christmastime murder has rattled even veteran detectives on his police force.

His eyes welled with tears at a pretty conference as he described how he was going to go home and hug his three sons.

After pleading guilty, Tiffany was given the opportunity to speak. She became emotional as she stated: “I want to say that those kids meant the world to me and I loved them very much. I loved Kenneth with all my heart and the girls too. He was my little buddy and will always be in my heart. I’m so, so sorry for what I did. I just wish I could take it all back but I can’t.” 

Tiffany VanAlstyne, center, taken out of Albany County Court on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016, following her sentencing for the killing of Kenneth White.

Tiffany’s family, including Kenneth’s own mother, Christine, would stand by Tiffany. Outside of court, Christine would say that she loved her son more than anything in the world but she also loved her niece: “People need to realize the kind of girl that Tiffany really was with my children – because she was good with them. This is a tragedy and it hurts that nobody understands truly the person she really was.”

A judge later ruled that the two sisters of Kenneth had also been abused while living with the family. The youngest girl, who was described as being developmentally delayed, suffered a beating with a large object. He said that they too had been beaten by Tiffany but added that Brenda had used corporal punishment to discipline the children. On several occasions, the children had begged their birth mother not to return them to the trailer because Tiffany hit them. Christine and the children’s father would also admit to neglect in Albany County Family Court. After the murder of Kenneth, his two younger sisters would be removed from the home and taken in by child protection services. Their great-aunt, Michelle Sweet, would be granted custody of the girls.

In death, Kenneth received much more love and respect than he did during his short life. The community provided an outpouring of support and a support group named “Kenneth’s Army” was even established in his honour.