Updated 01/08/2012 07:04 PM
Toddler found dead, missing caretaker questioned and released
The investigation continues into a baby found dead in a Troy apartment Saturday night. Officials say 21-month-old Avery Cahn was left unattended by his caretaker, who police found and brought in for questioning, but was later released. Our Megan Cruz has the latest.
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TROY, N.Y. -- "This broke my heart because that little boy meant the world to me," said Michelle Fregin.
Fregin used to babysit 21-month-old Avery Cahn. She found out the toddler was found dead Saturday night in this Griswold Heights apartment.
Fregin said she's shocked and angered by the circumstances of his death.
"I never left those kids alone," said Fregin. "Everywhere I went, they went with me."
But on Saturday, Troy Police said the toddler was left alone. Avery's mother, who neighbors said is Shannon Pozniakas, 30, came home that night to find Avery dead and the man she left her son with nowhere to be found. Police later located Avery's missing caretaker about a mile from the apartment complex.
"He's given us a pretty good timeline of his whereabouts," said Captain John Cooney of the Troy Police Department. "We believe he did leave the child some time late afternoon. The discovery of the deceased was approximately 7:45 p.m. It's fair to said that there was a several hour gap between the presence of the caretaker and the discovery of the deceased."
Cooney said the caretaker has since been released. He wouldn't give us a name, but neighbors said it was Robert Hayden. He and Pozniakas had supposedly dated, so he often watched Avery and his older brother Ethan.
Cooney said the investigation is still ongoing.
"Because toxicology results do take some time to come in, there won't be a specific cause of death released in the near future so to say it's not suspicious would be a misleading term, but we will not say it's suspicious at this time."
But Cooney did say the caretaker will be held accountable for his role Saturday night, likely either reckless endangerment charges or endangering the welfare of a child.
"Knowing that the caretaker did in fact leave the child either in a state of distress or the death came after the caretaker left certainly brings some responsibility to the shoulders of that subject," said Cooney.
Fregin hopes police can find answers as soon as possible.
"Detail by detail. Because that's an innocent child," said Fregin.