Dad focused on Army soldier accused in son's killing


Dad focused on Army soldier accused in son's killing

The Army soldier accused of killing a 7-month-old boy would be in for quite a confrontation if he and the child's biological father ever meet.

Aaron Hunsbarger, 24, said if he could get at Pfc. Gary McKenzie II, he'd be "tearing his throat out."

Hunsbarger said he was supposed to take his regular turn watching 7-month-old Braylin the week after he died.

"With him gone, he's not going to have to deal with pain or trouble," Hunsbarger said of Braylin, in an exclusive interview with News Center 7's Kate Bartley on Wednesday night in Sidney. "He's not going to feel cold or scared."

McKenzie, from Gouverneur, N.Y., remains jailed on a murder charge in the child's death on July 16.

New York State Police said they responded to a report of an injured infant and found McKenzie trying to revive the child. He told authorities he was baby-sitting when the infant was injured.

Hunsbarger, who grew up in West Milton and Dayton, said McKenzie and the child's mother, Savanna Goble of Dayton, began dating while she was pregnant. She moved to New York in May, he said, and soon after Hunsbarger said he moved four hours away to be closer to Braylin.

Hunsbarger said that until Braylin came into his life, he didn't want children.

Too many people, he said, don't realize how special their children are. "I'd like that to not be the case," he said.

According to Maj. Josh Jacques, McKenzie is a petroleum supply specialist in A Company, 710th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team. He has been stationed at Fort Drum since July 2011.

The major also said McKenzie served a three-month tour to Afghanistan in 2011, deploying in August 2011 and returning that November.

Hunsbarger said he found out about his son's injuries in a phone call from Goble.

"I asked her what happened and she said she didn't know," Hunsbarger said. He said he got the chance to see his son in a hospital before doctors took him off machines.

Hunsbarger plans to attend a graveside service for Braylin on Dec. 20, the day he would have turned 1 year old.

"As much as I know he's going through," Hunsbarger said of McKenzie, "once it's found out what he did to be in that prison, I want him released because then I can get to him. That's honestly what I want."

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