NY woman who reported kidnap charged with murdering cousin

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A 19-year-old woman was arrested for the murder of her 5-year-old cousin in upstate New York on Friday, less than a day after she reported what police said was a concocted story about two men in ski masks kidnapping the boy, local media reported.

The body of Kenneth White was found by police sniffer dogs ditched not far from his trailer home late on Thursday night where he lived with his aunt in a rural part of Berne, a town near Albany, according to the Albany Times Union.

Earlier that day, Tiffany VanAlstyne, his aunt's 19-year-old daughter, told police she had been watching her cousin when two men in ski masks, black boots and black gloves forced their way into the home, pinning her to the floor before snatching Kenneth away and driving off in a black pickup truck.

Police now believe there were no masked kidnappers and that VanAlstyne strangled her cousin, County Sheriff Craig Apple said at a press conference on Friday, the Times Union said.

She was arrested on Friday, pleaded not guilty to a charge of murder, and then was sent to the county jail without bail.

It was not immediately clear whether VanAlstyne had a lawyer, and Apple's office did not respond to a request for information about the case on Friday.

(Reporting by Jonathan Allen; Editing by Doina Chiacu)