CORAM, Suffolk County (WABC) -- The mother of a little boy who was allegedly kidnapped and fatally shot by his father is speaking out about the tragedy, and she believes authorities could have done more to save her son.
Two-year-old Jovani Ligurgo went missing Tuesday and was taken from Long Island to Virginia, where he was found dead along with his father, John Ligurgo III. An Amber Alert was never issued, despite pleas from Suffolk County police and his mom.
"Somebody needs to be held accountable for this," Maria Busone said. "Nobody was going to get hurt if an Amber Alert would have brought him home, that wouldn't have hurt anybody. An Amber Alert most definitely could have made this outcome different."
State police say they didn't believe an alert was warranted, despite the fact that at the same time, Jovani Ligurgo was supposed to be returned to his mother. A fire erupted in John Ligurgo's apartment in Coram, and it was discovered his hunting rifle was missing.
Busone described the police response Tuesday as painstakingly slow.
"It took way too long to start taking my statements and find out if he committed arson or not," Buscone said. "Who cares? That's not the issue here."
The two were found shot to death in Ligurgo's car in Virginia the next day.
"Now I have to figure out the rest of my life," Buscone said.
Suffolk County police say they followed protocol and gave state police all the information they needed to determine whether an Amber Alert should go out. While the two departments were in discussion for several hours, John Ligurgo was making his way to Virginia. Busone was told by police that it's believed John Ligurgo shot Jovani, then himself, inside the car.
"Now at this point, I can't do anything for my baby," Buscone said. "But maybe other people want to join in and say this should have never happened."
The Suffolk County Police Department and New York State Police released the following joint statement:
The Suffolk County Police Department and the New York State Police are extremely saddened by the death of two-year old Jovani Ligurgo. We express our deepest sympathies to his family.Throughout this investigation, the Suffolk County Police Department worked quickly and diligently to seek the safe return of Jovani. This includes reaching out to multiple law enforcement partners, including the New York State Police. While circumstances did not trigger an AMBER Alert based on the established criteria, the investigation did not stop there. Both agencies continued to investigate throughout the night and morning to determine the whereabouts of both individuals. These efforts included accessing the resources of the New York State Intelligence Center, and working together with law enforcement agencies throughout the region, including New Jersey, Pennsylvania and the NYPD. The priority of all involved was to locate the child and father, and ensure their safe return.As is standard procedure, both agencies will review the steps and guidelines ensure that best practices were followed. The Suffolk County Police Department and the New York State Police have worked closely on countless cases, and remain committed to continuing our close partnership.We want to reassure the public that every aspect of this investigation will be thoroughly reviewed. Our number one priority is to provide for the safety and security of our residents that we serve.