Heaven Puleski, the mother of missing 4-month-old baby Rayen Puleski, has been arrested after the discovery of a corpse believed to be Rayen, and is now facing several charges in the case of her missing child, Schenectady Police say.
Puleski faces three charges: tampering with physical evidence (Class E Felony), concealment of a human corpse (Class E Felony), and endangering the welfare of a child (Class A Misdemeanor), according to WNYT-13.
Puleski was under investigation after family members reported that her 4-month-old child Rayen Puleski had not been seen since July, according to Times Union.
Here’s what you need to know about Puleski:
1. The Body of an Infant Was Found Behind Pulaski’s House, But Has Not Been Positively Identified as Rayen Pulaski Yet
According to Times Union, more tests are needed before authorities can say whether or not the remains found last week behind Pulaski’s State Street home are those of her missing child, police said.
“Due to the condition that the remains were found in, the autopsy and the identification process is going to take an extended period of time,” said Sgt. Matthew Dearing, a spokesman for the city police department during a news conference Monday at police headquarters. “It’s going to be a little bit of time before we’re able to positively identify or even get a potential cause of death from the autopsy. ”
Dearing declined to elaborate about the condition of the body, but sources familiar with the ongoing investigation told Times Union that the body was badly decomposed, making it difficult to identify the child or pinpoint the cause of death at this time.
2. Puleski’s Aunt Was Concerned That The Family Hadn’t Seen the Baby in Weeks & Brought Police to Her House, Where She Declined to Let Them See Rayen
According to Puleski’s aunt, the child was under the supervision of child protective services and a caseworker last saw the baby on July 17.
Concerned that the family hadn’t seen the baby in weeks, Puleski’s aunt, Lisa Dutcher, said she met police officers Monday, Aug. 6, near Pulaski’s home on State St. Police questioned Puleski, according to Dutcher, but they left without seeing Rayen.
Pulaski, 38, insisted that the child was fine, Dutcher told police, but “not at the house.” She refused to allow Dutcher and police to see the baby, according to Times Union. The next day, police and child protective services began to search for the infant.
“This baby will get justice,” Puleski’s aunt, Lisa Dutcher, said as she headed to court Wednesday morning, according to Times Union.
3. Puleski Was Unable to Give Police a Clear Explanation of Her Child’s Whereabouts, Leading Police to Search the Property & Discover a Deceased Infant Behind Her House
The body was found last Thursday, a day after police questioned Puleski. Police said she was “unable to provide them with a clear explanation of her baby’s whereabouts,” and was eventually taken to a drug treatment program, according to police and family members.
FBI agents, police and state troopers found the remains in a hollow that leads to the Cowhorn Creek, a small, mostly underground waterway that flows into downtown Schenectady, Times Union reports.
“I have that hope that he is still out there somewhere, but unfortunately this is all just too coincidental,” Dutcher told Times Union.
It’s also unclear how long the body had been behind the apartment building on State St. where Rayen was staying with his mother. Local police, state investigators and FBI agents are continuing to work the case, Sgt. Dearing said.
4. The Autopsy & Cause of Death of the Remains Are Still Under Investigation, But Puleski Faces Several Felony Charges Including Concealment of a Human Corpse
Puleski faces one count each of tampering with physical evidence and concealment of a human corpse, both felonies, and a misdemeanor child endangerment charge.
According to the Daily Gazette, the charges Puleski faces don’t relate directly to the death of the infant at this time, as the cause of the boy’s death still remains under investigation.
Although police said Monday that the remains discovered haven’t yet been positively identified, a police spokesman Wednesday morning said the remains are now presumed to be Rayen’s based on Puleski’s statements to investigators, according to the Daily Gazette.
“The autopsy and cause of death are going to take an extended period of time due to the condition of the remains,” the Daily Gazette reports.
5. Puleski Spent a Year in Jail & Said People Treated Her Like She Had Killed Someone
Relatives said Puleski and the baby lived in a Saratoga Springs motel after he was born, but Puleski wanted her own apartment and moved to the place in Schenectady, according to Times Union.
Puleski’s Facebook profile gave little information about the woman’s life, but stated that she was from Schenectady, New York and currently lives in Mechanicville. She is 38-years-old, single, and also goes by the name “lachita.”
Her bio description has a single quote: “Not EVERYONE like’s me…But not EVERYONE matters!!!!!” and she posted a link to a Change.org petition involving an abused elephant back in October, 2017.
She posted about her experience in jail for “escaping the Gloversville police” back in August, 2017, and expressed how hurt and disappointed she was that nobody wrote her while she spent a year in a jail.
“No-one will help me. It hurts.. I’m so depressed. I’m human and I make mistakes just like the next person. I know that I f–ked up but DAMM.. I NEVER imagined that I would be treated like scum,” the post reads.
Puleski will be arraigned in Schenectady City Court Wednesday morning.