Sheriff’s Office arrests couple for negligent death of their 12 year old

AUSTERLITZ—Sheriff David P. Bartlett reports the arrest of Heidi Tranberg-Bennett, 47, and Steven Bennett, 58, both of Austerlitz, for the death of their 12-year-old daughter.

On December 3, 2019 at approximately 5:28 p.m., EMS and deputies responded to the Tranberg- Bennett residence for a 12-year-old in cardiac arrest.

Steven Bennett and Heidi Tranberg-Bennett in County Court on November 2. They were charged in the death of their 12-year-old daughter. Photo by Lance Wheeler

This case is a collective effort including the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, New York State Police, the Columbia County District Attorney’s Office, the Columbia County Department of Social Services Child Protective Unit, the Dutchess County Child Advocacy Center, Ellis Hospital and the Chatham Rescue Squad.

Both Heidi Tranberg-Bennett and Steven Bennett appeared before Judge Richard Koweek on November 2, were arraigned on Manslaughter 2nd charges and released on their own recognizance. They did arrive to the Sheriff’s Office for processing after their court appearance and were released. The couple was ordered by the court to personally appear at Columbia County Probation on two set days a week for monitoring.

Sheriff Bartlett said, “I am grateful to all who spent countless hours working on this case, and to those who will continue to work hard until this matter is resolved. This was a true team effort by all persons and agencies involved.”

Craryville man dies in motorcycle crash

Police investigators examine the charred motorcycle involved in a fatal crash at the hospital entrance. Photo by Lance Wheeler

HUDSON—A Craryville man was killed when his motorcycle crashed into a car and erupted in flames at the entrance to Columbia Memorial Hospital, 71 Prospect Avenue, October 14 at 1:57 p.m.

State Police from Livingston are investigating and identified the motorcycle operator as Thomas P. Golden, 37, of Craryville. An obituary for Mr. Golden appears in this issue of The Columbia Paper.

Hudson firefighters and the Greenport Rescue Squad were called to the scene. Read more…

Valatie resident faces child pornography allegations

Joseph Benvenuto

VALATIE—The State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) from the Livingston barracks and the Troop K Computer Crimes Unit (CCU) arrested Joseph M. Benvenuto, 30, of Valatie on five counts of possession of a sexual performance by a child, a class E felony, October 10.

An investigation by Livingston BCI and Troop K CCU led them to obtain a Columbia County Court-issued search warrant for Mr. Benvenuto’s residence.

Further investigation uncovered that Mr. Benvenuto allegedly possessed child pornography. Read more…

Mother charged with manslaughter in toddler’s death

GREENPORT—State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation in Livingston arrested Sareese M. Stewart, 30, of Greenport for second degree manslaughter, a class C felony, October 6.

State Police responded to Ten Broeck Lane in Greenport with emergency medical service personnel, June 23, for an unresponsive child, who was later pronounced dead at Columbia Memorial Hospital.

The subsequent investigation in conjunction with the Columbia County District Attorney’s Office and the Columbia County Coroner’s Office determined Ms. Stewart allegedly recklessly caused the death of her 21-month-old son. Read more…

Hudson man faces new, multiple charges of child sex abuse

Mohammed Ali, (seated, c), appeared in County Court with his attorney Michael Howard (r), for the opening of a second grand jury indictment, September 25. Photo by Lance Wheeler

HUDSON—Mohammed Ali, 68, of Hudson has been indicted for a second time in as many months on sex abuse charges.

In Columbia County Court September 25, Judge Richard Koweek opened a sealed grand jury indictment charging Mr. Ali with first degree sex abuse, a class D felony. The indictment alleges that Mr. Ali subjected a child, less than 11 years old, to sexual contact on or about the summer of 2014.

Mr. Ali was previously charged on nine counts in an August 12 indictment in connection with alleged sexual contact with three children. Read more…