ELIZAVILLE, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Two people were charged with murder in connection with the death of an elderly man in Columbia County. The Columbia County District Attorney’s Office said Cassandra Fischer, 30, and Ryan Woods, 29, both of Elizaville, were arraigned on Wednesday.

An indictment brought by a Columbia County grand jury accuses Fischer and Woods of mistreating, stealing, and intentionally causing the death of Ed Kessler in February. The Long Islander had been staying with them since late 2021.

New York State Police began investigating after Kessler was reportedly found dead in a home on Mountain View Road in Elizaville on February 7. Investigators believe he’d been dead for a few days before they found him.

Felony charges

  • Second-degree murder
  • Two counts of first-degree endangering the welfare of a vulnerable elderly person
  • Two counts of second-degree endangering the welfare of a vulnerable elderly person
  • First-degree endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person

Fischer was also charged with second-degree grand larceny, another felony.