Riley’s Mom Responds: A Mother’s Perspective.

12 Sep

We rarely have such an extraordinary moment as this. Riley’s mom read some of the deniers’ and nay-sayers’ offensive comments, and decided enough was enough.

A Mother’s Perspective…

As a mother comforts her child,
so will I comfort you;
and you will be comforted over my Kingdom. Isaiah 66:13

The majority of our readers just sit back and read Smalbany, that is, until they need help and then all of a sudden they’re right out there cheering us on and telling us what a great job we’re doing at Smalbany blog HQ. There’s a minority who have nothing to gain by supporting our efforts because they’re the ones we want out of office, out of town, or just behind bars. They are generally cowards who get their pals to comment or to make threats. An even smaller number of readers actually read the articles, understand the facts and evidence, and appreciate the research and work that goes into our writing. Thank God! There is a very small minority who just lurk and take potshots and ambush anything that goes up on the blog. But given our numbers, we expect these proportions. It’s the law of averages.

But Riley’s mom’s comment is really something extraordinary. We say that this is an extraordinary moment for two reasons: Firstly, it is so rare to meet a person with such courage, commitment, and dedication who will come out fighting for what is right. This mom came out like a tigress and, luckily for us, she came out in our defense. We’d sure hate to be on the other end of the stick, that’s for sure. Secondly, her message is far broader than just this particular issue. What she says is encapsulated at the very end of her comment: “People need to step up and people need to do their jobs correctly to avoid all the pain they are causing. Let’s do a proper investigation on the death of Riley Kern! Thanks Smalbany for doing just that ❤.” And that is what we’re all about at Smalbany.

This is a mother writing from her heart and it couldn’t be more believable. You can almost feel the pain and the anger at what’s been done to her young son. This lady is a warrior and instead of withdrawing into a dark place or simmering in her own angry juices, she’s on the front lines seeking justice for Riley. We are incredibly grateful to her for coming out in our defense as well. She knows firsthand what we are doing and how we are doing it; she’s not one of those backroom critics who are constantly taking potshots without a clue about what they’re talking about. Riley’s mom knows first hand what the score is, and we’re out there with her to help her settle it.

We asked her permission to make some small edits and add some notes so that we could publish her comment as a full article. We are grateful that she gave her permission, and so we are reproducing her comment here together with our Editor’s Notes.

This is your mom talking, Rye. Be proud of her!

Hi there “Smalbany Full of Crap.”[1]

I am of Riley Kern’s mother. I just want to let you know that the people of the Smalbany blog are the only ones who have bothered doing any type of investigation on Riley’s death, and if you were in my situation you would be very thankful for them and the amount of time they have dedicated to investigate the cause of Riley‘s death, something the police should have done in the first place.

Now, if you calm down and really think about what they [Smalbany] are saying, and the facts they are putting out, you too would realize that something isn’t right. What Smalbany is saying are facts and nothing less. All they are trying to do is expose the truth which is greatly needed for our family to move on.

I reached out to Smalbany because they were the ONLY ones who sincerely posted about my son after his death.[2] I also tried reaching out to Hagen because initially I felt bad for the man knowing his wife had died and he knows what grief is like.[3] I felt sympathy for the [expletive redacted at commenter’s request] and wanted to let him know that “It’s OK,” but he avoided me as if the whole thing never happened! So as of now my feelings about him have quite obviously changed.

 Believe me when I say that you will not find the facts in the police accident report.[4] I’ve had direct conversations with Officer Foard, and he has contradicted himself over and over again, making things very suspicious and harder on us. Take a look at that diagram of the accident scene and then talk to some of the people who had to pick up Riley‘s bike out of the road, and place it in the grass; the police report shows his bike ended up in the grass to begin with. When I called the investigating officer [Patrolman Ian Foard] one month after my son’s death for some closure, I was told my boy was unconscious, incoherent, and didn’t even know his name, that he probably never realized what was going on. Yet Officer Foard, the investigating officer, made a phone call to Riley‘s father as they were loading him [Riley] into the ambulance and Riley was conversing between the two of them!!![5]

I think it’s highly suspicious that Mr. Hagen did not keep his car at Burns and Sons for the insurance adjuster to come inspect it; he would have been reimbursed for the damages.[6]

I think it’s messed up that Hagen wasn’t given an alcohol test!!!!!!!!![7]

Who was looking after Rileys best interests at the crash site? NOBODY!!![8]

Officer Foard said there was no reason to question the events prior to the accident or to give Hagen an alcohol test, “it was obvious what happened”;  yet my son had to lay in the morgue to have his body torn apart for toxicology and an autopsy to determine the cause of the accident …. I thought that was obvious ???[9]

I was told directly by Officer Foard that he did not take any photos, he took no written statements from the witnesses, and didn’t reconstruct the accident scene! He also told me that he was not the investigating officer?!?!? But that’s what the police report says !!!!![10]

It’s quite obvious that something is not right, and here’s my full-hearted opinion based on facts. Travis Hagan was drunk leaving Sycamore golf club[11], took a left onto NY 143 causing my son to crash into the passenger side of his truck as the pictures show.[12] I also know the exact time of the accident and I know the time that the first responders called to notify us that our Riley was in an accident.

I have nothing against the first responders I believe they did their job well but whatever happened between Riley and Mr. Hagen immediately after the accident wasted precious critical time costing my son his life. My son may have been alive today if he had entered the OR [Operating Room] 10 minutes earlier.[13]

Riley‘s accident was tragic but what’s more tragic is the way the police and Travis Hagen are allowing the community to believe a bunch of lies. Oh wait! Never mind, the community knows nothing of Riley‘s accident because it was never in the media. Hush-hush!![14]

Report indicates Riley was at fault and the people who determined that are idiots !!!! There were no witnesses to the actual accident and I know without a doubt my son did not take that corner too fast, he’s been riding motorcycles for years!!![15]

 If it were your son you would be demanding a better investigation as well.[16]  It makes me sad thinking of Riley looking down seeing these incompetent people making false claims about the situation; they’re making him look like the fool when in fact it’s FOARD and HAGEN!!!

People need to step up and people need to do their jobs correctly to avoid all the pain they are causing. Let’s do a proper investigation on the death of Riley Kern! Thanks Smalbany for doing just that ❤[17]

This is a touching roadside memorial at the accident site
where Riley was killed.
The text on the cross reads “Riley” and vertically, “Jeremiah” his nickname.

Click here to return to Riley’s Song: Verse Two – Update on Our Investigations.

Click here to return to We Are Re-Opening the Case: Riley Kern, Young Man Killed in Coeymans Hollow, Sycamore Golf Course.

Editor’s Notes

[1] Editor’s Footnote: Riley’s mom is responding to a commenter calling him/herself “Smalbany full of crap,” and who posted several inappropriate comments about the article, “Riley’s Song.” “Smalbany full of crap” has since been banned from posting comments but can read others’ comments.

[2] Editor’s Footnote: In fact, our first mention of the accident and Riley’s death was in an article on a completely different subject; our comment was literally a footnote expressing our surprise that a fatal accident had occurred and a young man died but we couldn’t find a thing in the media or elsewhere. We found that to be very suspicious.

[3] Editor’s Footnote: Hagen’s wife was killed in an Amtrak work-related accident. Hagen has since settled for an undisclosed amount.

[4] Editor’s Footnote: We have provided an extensive analysis and discussion of the so-called Police Report. Our conclusion is that it’s bogus, a complete farce. Nothing adds up and there are numerous inconsistencies and contradictions. See our article, “Riley’s Song.”

[5] Editor’s Footnote: This entire situation is not only bizarre, it’s total confusion! Patrolman Foard is a part-time officer in the Coeymans Police Department; he is not an investigator. Foard even admits that he arrived after the EMS team arrived, that is, some considerable time after the accident had occurred and the first call was made for emergency assistance. A lot could have happened in the meantime. In fact, one informant claims that someone [Hagen?] had Riley sign a document saying the accident was his fault. Riley was obviously in shock with internal bleeding and unable to understand anything at the time.

[6] Editor’s Footnote: We find this fact to be suspicious, too. What is Hagen trying to conceal? Obviously, there’s a cover up going on here and a lot of people are involved. We will find out who’s behind it all.

[7] Editor’s Footnote: A new law that went into effect earlier in 2018 requires drug and alcohol testing in all serious accidents. Field Sobriety Testing (FST) is now mandatory in New York in any serious motor vehicle accident, and is no longer at the discretion of the responding or investigating officer! The new law amends Vehicle and Traffic Law sections 603a and 1194.

[8] Editor’s Footnote: We recommend that Riley’s mom get the EMS report on their activities from the time they received the call from Albany County 911 to the handover at Albany Medical Center. At the same time, we recommend that Riley’s mom get the medical records created from the time Albany Medical Center accepted Riley in the ER to the point when they released his body to Ellis Hospital for autopsy. There’s a lot to be learned from those documents and she needs to have them in hand.

[9] Editor’s Footnote: Even accepting as obvious the fact that Patrolman Ian Foard is incompetent and ignorant of his responsibilities and obligations as a first responder or investigator at an accident scene, there is still the question of whether Foard, and Contento as reviewer and Foard’s direct supervisor, violated New York State law (1) by not requesting or demanding FST at the accident scene, and (2) preparing what is conspicuously a grossly inaccurate and untruthful, if not fraudulent Accident Report involving a death. There was no real investigation done, either. Hagen walks away without the mandatory actions being taken, but the dead boy is subject to every conceivable indignity. There’s something wrong with this picture, don’t you think?

[10] Editor’s Footnote: We find it outrageously irregular that no real investigation was done in this case. No reconstruction and not even police photos.  We’ve already reported on the bogus Police Report.

[11] Editor’s Footnote: Hagen is a known drinker. Hagen also has some tight connections with the Sycamore Country Club. Our question is: Has anyone interviewed the Sycamore staff on duty on the evening of July 27, 2018, likely a busy time for a country club and golf course, as to whether Hagen was there at around 6 p.m.? Hagen’s family is tight with the country club because Terry Hagen, Hagen’s father, was a member and an avid golfer. Hagen Sr died in or around 2009, and now the Sycamore Country Club hosts the Terry Hagen Memorial Golf Tournament which supports the Lustgarten Foundation (cure for pancreatic cancer), and was held at the Sycamore this year on August 18, 2018. On July 27, 2018, was Travis Hagen taking care of “business” just before the tournament?

[12] Editor’s Footnote: This is a very important point. The Police Report, if it can be believed at all, mentions several points of damage on Hagen’s pickup truck. Whether that damage was due to the accident is another question. But an experienced EMS photographer/journalist took pictures only of the passenger side of Hagen’s vehicle and, when questioned about this and asked about damage to the driver’s side, responded that the only damage he found was on the passenger side. If there were damage on the driver’s side he would have photographed that, too, but he didn’t. This physical evidence is in direct contradiction with the information recorded by Foard and reviewed by Contento!

Furthermore, if Travis Hagen lives in Coxsackie, it is reasonable that exiting the Sycamore, he would have to take a right hand turn to go South on Route 143, that is, towards, Ravena and US Rt 9W, if he were returning home, to Coxsackie. If, as the police report indicates, Hagen were traveling North on Rt 143, where could he possibly be going at that time of day? There’s little or nothing to the North!

The “Right-hand Turn” scenario would be compatible with the physical damage to Hagen’s truck; the “Traveling North” scenario is ruled out by the physical damage to Hagen’s truck. But now Hagen has his truck back; he’s removed it from the custody of a neutral third party, Burns & Sons Towing, and an impartial investigator has been deprived of the opportunity to confirm any damage alleged in the Police Report as being attributable to the accident. Hagen has, in fact, cut his own throat because now, the evidence, the pickup truck, has been contaminated, tampered with, having been removed from impartial third-party custody! Weasel your way out of this one, Hagen, Foard, Contento!

[13] Editor’s Footnote: Not only was precious time wasted between the time of the accident and the first call, a lot could have happened between Hagen and Riley in that time. One informant has suggested that Riley was forced to sign a document saying the accident was his fault. If that’s true, it will have to come out some time, and will be a very serious charge against Hagen. Besides, given Riley’s condition, he was most certainly in shock and was not responsible for anything he might have said or done. Any such statement would be worthless.

[14] Editor’s Footnote: The fact that absolutely nothing was reported about the accident is still a burning question, one that supports the theory of a conspiracy to cover up the accident and the circumstances.

[15] Editor’s Footnote: We have already analyzed the Police Report and the supporting evidence, which does not support the Police Report at all. We have already commented on the fact that the way the narrative text is written is not only contradictory, if not completely falsified, it actually exhonerates Riley by stating that “Hagen struck Riley,” not the other way around. Moreover, Riley was an experienced motorcyclist and, being from the area, certainly knew the lay of the land. Riley also participated in motorcycle safety training, much more than can be said about most local operators in this area. Again, these facts raise the level of suspicion.

[16] Editor’s Footnote: That is a very poignant question, indeed. These people would be singing another tune if it were their son who died under these circumstances. They’d be out in droves supporting the family in their darkest hours, raising money, organizing events, etc. Where are they now? Well, we’ll tell you: They’re out there denying the truth and trying to find excuses for their drinking buddy, Travis Hagen!

[17] Editor’s Footnote: Yes! That’s the tune we’ve been humming for several years now in the Smalbany blog. How many times must the same song be sung before locals learn the lyrics. That’s why we used the title, “Riley’s Song.”


12 responses to “Riley’s Mom Responds: A Mother’s Perspective.

  1. Dana

    October 30, 2019 at 3:35 pm

    What incompetence and corruption going on here! So plain to see! It’s disgusting these corrupt officials have not been charged and imprisoned. I will make sure that Dateline, 20/20, David Muir and every other outlet I can find receives this information and blasts it to every news outlet.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Principal Editor

      October 30, 2019 at 3:56 pm

      We’ll be interested in how you make out. Keep us posted.
      Thank you,


  2. Principal Editor

    October 29, 2019 at 4:14 pm

    Ladies, gentlemen:

    Unless these “Justice for Riley” comments do not cease immediately, we will start blocking them and reconsider our position as to the issues. This is not Facebook, and we do not publish hit-and-run type messages.

    If you have an on-topic comment that adds new information or clarifies facts, WELCOME. If not, BYE.

    This is our last and final notice.

    The Editor/Publisher


  3. Katie Turner

    October 29, 2019 at 7:49 am

    This family deserves answers!


  4. Dawn

    September 12, 2018 at 8:26 pm

    Keep up the good work smallbany!!!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Principal Editor

      September 13, 2018 at 8:31 am

      Thank you, Dawn!

      Spread the good word about our work and perhaps each of us in our own small way can make this a better world, starting with our own communities.

      Thank you for reading Smalbany and for your comment.

      The Editor

      Liked by 1 person

    • InTheShadows

      July 18, 2019 at 9:56 am

      A little late to the party, I heard about this a few months back, and felt horrible but also brushed it aside and moved on…..Fast forward to a few days ago and now knowing people in town and getting involved and paying attention and listening. This was brought back up, so intrigued I dug a little bit, and couldnt find much information AT ALL about this accident. So now I’m becoming more invested especially after finding out who the other involved party was and how many bits of info were wrong or straight up missing. I whole heartedly support the police, but something is wrong in this case and I hope more information comes out, and the truth to it all comes out. No family should have to go through this, and no family should be left in limbo for the facts(they are there, but noone seems to care). A horrible accident made worse by what seems to be a half assed investigation. Thank you for being what I could find, the ONLY place who has shared information on this tragic story.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Principal Editor

        July 18, 2019 at 10:03 am

        Thank you for your comment. Something is being covered up and we’ll find it. It may take us a while but the more people who are made and become aware of this incident and how it was mishandled, the more likely the Truth will be exposed. The Albany District Attorney, the Albany County Sheriff, Albany Medical Center, the Albany County Coroner, Bernard Ng (the pathologist who botched the autopsy/death certificate), the incompetent Coeymans Police Department but especially acting chief Daniel Contento and dumbass patrolman Ian Foard, as well as the scoundrel Travis Hagen, who has plenty to cover up in this tragedy. The Sycamore Country Club personnel on that day have to accept some blame, especially for their loud silence about the fatal accident that happened on their doorstep. Shame and Blame on all involved but especially the local public who never uttered a word to question how things were handled. That’s how the criminals get away Scott free.

        Liked by 2 people

      • InTheShadows

        July 18, 2019 at 10:12 am

        I will be following this, and also listening out in town and now paying WAY more attention. Surprised nobody knew where H. Was going or coming from. From what I understand his brother lives about a mile from where the accident occurred up the hill. Editor, feel free to reach out to me via my email. Thanks for the good work!

        Liked by 2 people

      • Principal Editor

        July 18, 2019 at 10:24 am

        Thank YOU, dear Reader, for your comment and your courage! We can only wish there were more like you in the community; what a great place it would be! What a great real community it would be! People caring about people.

        Many, many thanks and blessings!
        The Editor

        Liked by 2 people

      • Two two

        July 20, 2019 at 5:33 pm

        I’m very thankful you took the time to respond to this article, it means a lot to know that other people have concern for the issue and not just for the sake of Riley but for everyone who resides in the Coeymans area. There’s been many new developments, and I have multiple meetings set up in the near future to address my concerns and a few interviews with local media outlets. My biggest fear is that I will leave NY with no answers, and this is coming close to destroying my life completely.

        If there is anything I need to know please contact me, I think Smalbany should have my contact info.

        As for the big picture there is no disputing or doubts that AMC, Albany County Coroners, and CPD have all participated in the cover up the events that took place on 7/27/2018. Pay attention to the media and AMC’s issues with the AMC nurses’ new contract of with their union, just yesterday in the media the nurses have brought forth the issue of low staffing causing direct harm to patients and long wait times.

        My son Riley, just days before his 20th birthday, experienced this first hand in a unfortunate way — he died through neglect and malpractice — and the hospital has responded in a nasty way which only aggravates what the Coeymans Police Department has botched up.

        Thank you again for commenting! Please share any info with me no matter how small.

        And Smallbany I continue to have appreciation for you and when telling my story I always remember to emphasize how you guys have selflessly helped right from the start by investigating and reporting the initial incident with comments, by providing me with pictures of his memorial at the accident scene, while going out of your way on a rainy day to look into the accident scene, to helping organizing for the planting of Riley’s tree, and coordinating with the Town of New Scotland.

        [Editor’s Note: While the Town of New Baltimore and its Police Department have been outrageously indifferent, the Town of New Scotland was compassionate and highly cooperative in facilitating Riley’s memorial! SHAME ON YOU, COEYMANS!!!]

        Thank you!! If you want any info from me get in touch as I will be in town soon.

        Emily – Riley’s mom

        Liked by 2 people

      • Principal Editor

        July 20, 2019 at 6:23 pm

        Dear Emily:

        We can only respond with Rev. H’s words when we asked how to respond to your comment:

        “Riley’s life and his death should be given positive meaning. He was put on earth for the time he was among us for a reason. When his purpose was fulfilled, he was called back.

        “Rather than hand over control to the emotions of grief and the unanswered and unanswerable questions, we must take the positive energy we are inclined to use to fight that stupidity, ignorance, incompetence, and use that same positive energy to work for the Good; why not ask yourself how to give meaning to Riley’s life and his death. We’ll never know Why? it happened but we can work to know how we can find meaning in the fact that it did happen.

        “Perhaps Riley’s purpose was to get us all to focus on some very important issues in our personal interactions and in the local communities. Perhaps Riley worked through the local administrations to draw attention to their shortcomings and their failures, and by doing so, to benefit countless others to come. Perhaps Riley’s suffering and death served to draw attention to incompetence and carelessness, ignorance and stupidity in those in whom whom we have placed our trust, but who failed Riley and everyone. But the failing should not eclipse the thoughtfulness, support, love, compassion, and cooperation of so many others who in great ways and small ways did Good through their words, tears, and works.

        “Riley’s death and his legacy certainly are both abundant with lessons for us all. His death showed us how people can care and come together as well as how people can act cowardly and hide. His death demonstrated how different communities respond — or don’t respond — to a community and a private incident. Riley’s legacy and memory should draw attention to US, and how we participate in our relationships both near and far.

        “Riley’s death teaches us that insidious stupidity reigns in our society and how the powers to be manipulate us into apathy and complacency, while in our hearts the reigning wisdom teaches us to fully appreciate what we have while we have it, and to live in the Eternal Now. Riley’s death also teaches us how fragile life can be, and how thin the line is between compassion and indifference. Riley’s death has demonstrated beyond a doubt that we have a lot of work to do to repair our society and ourselves.

        “Riley points us in the right direction.”

        We can only hope that Rev. Ch. H’s take on this issue sinks in.

        Thank you for your comment. Looking forward to meeting you, Emily. God be your constant companion.

        The Editor, Contributors, and Readers
        Smalbany Blog

        Liked by 2 people


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