Heaven Puleski faces murder charge in baby’s death

She appeared in court this morning
Heaven Puleski at court Wednesday
Heaven Puleski at court Wednesday

SCHENECTADY — The mother of Rayen Puleski, the 4-month-old who disappeared earlier this summer and was later found dead, was indicted Wednesday on a second-degree murder charge in connection with her son’s death.

Heaven Puleski, 38, faces a six-count indictment that accuses her of violently shaking and throwing the child and then failing to seek medical attention, prosecutors said.

The murder charge accuses Puleski of acting with “depraved indifference to human life,” resulting in Rayen’s death.

Puleski also faces two lesser counts of first-degree manslaughter and second-degree manslaughter, along with the previously filed charges of concealment of a human corpse and evidence tampering, both felonies. She also is charged with misdemeanor child endangerment.

She was arraigned Wednesday before County Court Judge Matthew Sypniewski and pleaded not guilty.

She faces up to 25 years to life if convicted on the murder count. 

Her attorney, Lara Barnett, argued before Sypniewski that Puleski should remain in jail on $20,000 cash bail or $40,000 bond, amounts that were set in City Court.

Prosecutor Christina Tremante-Pelham argued that, given the new charge of second-degree murder, and the fact that Puleski has previous convictions and a history of fleeing prosecution and missing court appearances, she should be held without bail.

Sypniewski ordered Puleski to be held without bail. He did say, though, Barnett could file a written bail application.

Barnett did not return a request later for comment.

Puleski was arrested on a warrant for misdemeanor drug possession in October 2016 by police in Gloversville, but she was able to escape. She was later caught by Schenectady police.

Puleski pleaded guilty to escape and was sentenced to 10 months in jail in that case, court records show.

Puleski has been held since her August arrest on the tampering with evidence and concealment of a corpse charges.

Grand juries hear extra evidence and decide on the final set of charges to be brought to trial.

The cause of Rayen’s death had yet to be released prior to Wednesday’s unsealing of the indictment.

County District Attorney Robert Carney said prosecutors could not discuss details of the autopsy, or really any of the evidence his office has in the case.

“[Puleski] is presumed innocent, and she’s entitled to a fair trial,” Carney said. “So, we can’t say much. We can’t say anything that would prejudice her right to a fair trial.”

Rayen’s body was found wrapped in plastic bags in a grassy area behind 766 State St. on Aug. 9. Police believe Rayen died sometime between July 17 and July 23. July 17 is the day family members believe Rayen was last seen alive.


The Daily Gazette previously spoke with Sabrina Moore, who said she was told by prosecutors to plan on testifying in front of a grand jury at some point as a witness in the case. Moore, a friend of Puelski’s, recalled Puleski being visited by Child Protective Services employees twice in a four-day span while the two lived together at 766 State St., the property behind which Rayen’s body was found.

On another occasion, Moore said she had to revive Heaven with Narcan after the single mother overdosed on heroin with the baby in the room.

Tremante-Pelham said the investigation is still continuing and added that it will right until the trial begins.

Puleski is due back in court on Jan. 7.

Categories: News, Schenectady County

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