An initial witness report that a 5-year-old boy was abducted from an Albany-area home in upstate New York before being found dead nearby hours later was false, New York police said Friday.
Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple told local media at about 3 a.m. that the body of Kenneth White was discovered by a sheriff’s K-9 unit conducted a search in the rural hamlet of Clarksville, 10 miles southwest of Albany.
Authorities have identified a person of interest in Kenneth’s death but a name has not yet been released, Fox affiliate WXXA reported Friday.
Apple said the 19-year-old daughter of Kenneth’s legal guardian told police two men wearing ski masks entered a house in the neighboring town of Berne, pinned her to the floor and abducted the child at about 1:30 p.m. Thursday afternoon. She told police the men drove off in a pickup truck with White.
Apple told WGY-AM on Friday morning that investigators have determined the girl’s story was false. He said detectives were interviewing a “person of interest” who knew the boy, but Apple provided no further details.
A press conference by the Albany County Sheriff is expected at 1 p.m. Friday.
Kenneth’s mother lives elsewhere in New York and his father lives in Massachusetts, Apple said. Neither parent is being questioned by detectives in the boy’s death, he said.
Apple said the boy has a twin sister and another sister.
News of the boy’s death shocked residents in the rural hill towns west of Albany, New York, described by Apple as a tight-knitted community where everyone knows everyone.
“It’s horrific, it’s heart-wrenching,” Apple told the Albany radio station. “It’s certainly not the ending we were praying for.”
Kenneth lived in a mobile home on a rural road in Berne. Police vehicles were parked outside the home Friday morning, blocking access to the road.