WHITE RIVER JUNCTION - Although his defense attorney characterized it as "a case of he-said, she-said," a judge ordered a 23-year-old Ludlow man held without bail Monday after he pleaded innocent to second-degree murder in connection with the death of an 11-month-old boy that occurred in Ludlow in January.
Witnesses claimed that Tyler Pollender-Savery was "acting strangely" and making profuse apologies that they took to be borderline incriminating as he paced around the emergency department and spoke to distraught friends and relatives in the hours after the boy died on January 11th.
Windsor County State's Attorney David Cahill took exception to the "he-said, she-said" line during Monday's arraignment, which came shortly after state police detectives arrested Pollender-Savery, telling Judge Elizabeth Mann that investigators were relying on Pollender-Savery's own alleged admissions to certain aspects of the case and an extensive autopsy carried out by a medical examiner who ruled the boy's death was a homicide carried out by either strangulation or smothering.
Police in Ludlow had immediate suspicions about the death of young Karsen Rickert in large part because of a series of small cuts around one of his eyes and bruising marks on his neck, arm and forehead that were flagged up by the ambulance crew that arrived to try and resuscitate him after his mother, Abigail Wood, discovered him unresponsive in his bed first thing in the morning.
Pollender-Savery, who was Wood's boyfriend at the time but not the father of the child, told investigators he'd gotten up first that morning and fed the baby a bottle and that he'd last seen the boy resting comfortably and unharmed in his bed which was shaped like a car, according to an affidavit filed with the court.
Wood told police that she had seen Pollender-Savery leaving the child's room and then had gone to change his diaper a few minutes later when she noticed he was still warm to the touch but was not responsive to her and didn't appear to be breathing.
As Wood watched tearfully from a bench in the front of the courtroom on Monday, State's Attorney Cahill described what he said were a series of comments and threats that Pollender-Savery allegedly made over social media and to friends in the days leading up to the boy's death in which Pollender-Savery expressed concerns about Wood's growing closeness with her ex-boyfriend, the father of the child, and in which he appeared to suggest that something bad was about to happen.
As he unsuccessfully attempted to sway Judge Mann into allowing his client, who has no prior criminal history, to remain free pending trial, defense attorney Steven Howard narrowed the potential field of suspects in the child's death down to just Pollender-Savery and Wood herself, although he took pains to say that he wasn't saying the boy's mother had done it.
According to reports submitted by the detectives investigating the case, during her initial interviews earlier this year Wood was under the impression that her son's death had been some sort of freak accident involving either the new bed she had bought him for Christmas and/or a blanket that had somehow gotten twisted around his neck. However, detectives wrote, the medical examiner concluded that there wasn't any way the boy could have accidentally become entangled or strangled himself that would have matched the injuries seen during the post-mortem examinations of his tiny body.
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