Official: Father, son had bullet wounds, car was on fire

Posted: Updated:
Virginia crime scene photo courtesy of WSLS-TV Virginia crime scene photo courtesy of WSLS-TV
ROCKBRIDGE COUNTY, V.A. -

A 2-year-old from Smithtown and his father, who is believed to have abducted him, were found in a car on fire Wednesday – both with bullet wounds – in Virginia, according to Rockbridge County Deputy Tony McFadden.

Suffolk police say the toddler, Jovani Ligurgo, who was reported missing by his mother Tuesday afternoon, was discovered in John Ligurgo’s Jeep Cherokee in the residential neighborhood.

It wasn't immediately clear if the gunshots were the cause of death. An autopsy is scheduled for Thursday.

The course of events that led to the tragic end began Tuesday around 3:30 p.m. when police responded to a 911 call about a fire at the Brettonwood Condo complex in Coram. Police believe the fire started in Ligurgo's second-floor bedroom, but he and his son were not in the apartment.

VIDEO: Police give update on Coram father, son believed to be found dead

An hour later, Jovani's mother Maria Busone called police because her son had not yet been returned by John Ligurgo per a family court visitation order. She then drove to the condo after hearing about the fire and told police that he might be armed with a hunting rifle.

Suffolk police say that's when they began a missing persons investigation, but no Amber Alert was issued at that time. There was also no alert to local media until after midnight.

The vehicle's description along with the missing persons information was entered into NCIC – a national alert system that's only accessible to law enforcement.

MORE: Did the Amber Alert system fail Jovani Ligurgo?

Suffolk Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart said that at 7:30 p.m., the NYPD alerted Suffolk police that the vehicle had entered New Jersey.

“We notified New Jersey and Pennsylvania police of the effort to locate the vehicle,” said Hart.

But at 8:45 a.m., Suffolk police were notified that Ligurgo’s vehicle was found with two occupants dead inside.

Busone and Ligurgo were scheduled to meet Thursday for a custody hearing.

Neighbors also told News 12 that John Ligurgo had just lost his job a few days ago.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to pay for Jovani's funeral expenses. 

  • SlideshowsSlideshowsMore>>

  • Dog Day Fridays for August 17

    Dog Day Fridays for August 17

    Friday, August 17 2018 8:18 AM EDT2018-08-17 12:18:00 GMT
    Bailey is a Hound mix, just under 2 years old. She was recently surrendered to the shelter by her owner. Bailey is a sweet and playful dog. She behaves well with children and other friendly dogs. She would be the perfect companion for any household.Bailey is a Hound mix, just under 2 years old. She was recently surrendered to the shelter by her owner. Bailey is a sweet and playful dog. She behaves well with children and other friendly dogs. She would be the perfect companion for any household.

    This week's dogs are up for adoption at Bobbi and the Strays. The shelter is located at 2 Rider Place in Freeport. Their phone number is (516) 378-4340

    This week's dogs are up for adoption at Bobbi and the Strays. The shelter is located at 2 Rider Place in Freeport. Their phone number is (516) 378-4340

  • Aftermath of bridge collapse in Genoa, Italy

    Aftermath of bridge collapse in Genoa, Italy

    A general view of the Morandi bridge which collapsed on August 14, 2018 in Genoa, Italy.A general view of the Morandi bridge which collapsed on August 14, 2018 in Genoa, Italy.
    A general view of the Morandi bridge which collapsed on August 14, 2018 in Genoa, Italy.A general view of the Morandi bridge which collapsed on August 14, 2018 in Genoa, Italy.

    A bridge on a main highway linking Italy with France collapsed in the Italian port city of Genoa during a sudden, violent storm, sending vehicles plunging 45 meters (nearly 150 feet) into a heap of rubble.

    A bridge on a main highway linking Italy with France collapsed in the Italian port city of Genoa during a sudden, violent storm, sending vehicles plunging 45 meters (nearly 150 feet) into a heap of rubble.

  • Just Married on Long Island

    Just Married on Long Island

    News 12 Long Island wants to announce your wedding. Share your pictures and videos with News 12 Long Island viewers!

    News 12 Long Island wants to announce your wedding. Share your pictures and videos with News 12 Long Island viewers!

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."