TROY, N.Y. - For the first time, we are hearing Robert Hayden's side of the story of what happened to the Troy toddler who allegedly died while in his care.
Hayden, 29, pleaded not guilty in Rensselaer County Court Wednesday morning to charges of second-degree murder and manslaughter for smothering 21-month-old Avery Cahn to death.
NEWS10 ABC obtained Hayden's official statement to police in which he described the baby's deadly night back on January 7th.
Hayden was in charge of watching Avery while his mother, Shannon Pozniakas, was at work.
"I covered his mouth to get him to stop crying. I did not cover his nose. I was not trying to suffocate him," Hayden said in the statement to police. "I held my hand over his mouth for a minute. He stopped breathing."
Hayden says he started CPR on the boy. Saying in the statement he gave him CPR for two hours, but it was not working as his "belly kept filling up with air."
Hayden said he did not call 911 because he panicked. "I realize I was wrong now," he said in his statement.
Hayden said he then put Avery in the playpen and "covered him up" before leaving the apartment to get pot from a neighbor. Hayden then said he went to smoke pot before returning to "see the baby."
He said he texted Avery's mother to say the boy was down for a nap and then left the apartment and started walking toward Wyantskill. He said at some point before leaving Troy he threw his phone and keys in the woods and kept walking. He then ran into a friend who told him the police were looking for him. Soon after, he was taken into custody.
Avery's body was later discovered by his mother when she returned home from work.