Two charged in connection with drowning death of 6-year-old

Two arrests have been made in connection with the death of 6-year-old Aliyah Williams.

Greece, N.Y. (WHAM) - Two arrests have been made in connection with the death of 6-year-old Aliyah Williams.

Friday evening, Greece police arrested Laura McCasland, 25, of Texas and Tyler Kanaley, 23, of California for possession of marijuana.

During their investigation, police said a half-pound of marijuana was found in the car they were driving Thursday when Aliyah drowned in the Erie Canal at Henpeck Park.

According to police, the pair will also be charged with endangering the welfare of a child.

Rylie Antinore of Ogden found a letter she said must have flown away from the growing memorial at the bank of the canal at the park.

She read part of the letter aloud. “God rest her soul. RIP, which is rest in peace,” she said.

Aliyah would have turned seven in about a week. Antinore is the same age.

“It's sad because the parents must've been really sad to hear and find out that the girl died, and it must've been really sad,” Antinore said.

Greece police said Aliyah drowned in the canal after canoeing earlier in the day.

Chief Patrick Phelan said she was with her cousin Kanaley and his friend McCasland when they lost sight of her.

"Bottom line is, if you're in charge with the care of young children, you have to watch them especially next to bodies of water," said Chief Phelan.

Saturday, police said they found 31 pounds of marijuana in the room of a Buck Hill Road home where McCasland and Kanaley were staying. The home belongs to Kanaley and Aliyah's grandparents.

"There were some admissions that marijuana had been consumed that day," said Chief Phelan.

Aliyah's grandmother Nikki was too emotional for an interview. She spoke with 13WHAM over the phone. She said she believes McCasland and Kanaley’s negligence killed her granddaughter.

Nikki said Aliyah was an angel with a lot of personality.

Chief Phelan said the family is distraught and heartbroken.

“We need to be the voice for this little girl,” he said. “That's what we're doing right here, right now, defending her in any way we can."

Back at Henpeck Park, Rylie Antinore is doing her best to keep Aliyah's memory alive.

“I think she's happy that we read it,” she said. “I think God and her could have heard it.”

Nikki said she’s grateful for the flowers and prayers. She said she hopes this tragedy helps to prevent other tragedies like this from happening to another child.

McCasland and Kanaley are both being held in the Monroe County Jail.

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