Toddler’s death sparks movement to change Amber Alert criteria

Posted: Updated:
WOODBURY -

The death of a Smithtown boy who was abducted and apparently killed by his father spurred activists to push for changes to how police handle Amber Alerts.

It's been two weeks since Maria Busone lost her 2-year-old son Jovani. She and Jovani's father John Ligurgo had recently separated. On June 5, Ligurgo was supposed to bring Jovani to Busone, but he never showed up.

MORE: Did the Amber Alert system fail Jovani Ligurgo?

Busone says she immediately knew something was wrong. When Suffolk police checked on Ligurgo's home, they found it in flames. The man and the toddler were not there.

Busone asked Suffolk police to send out an Amber Alert. Suffolk police say they asked state police to issue the alert. But state police say the criteria to send out an Amber Alert hadn't been met.

"I'm angry," Busone says. "And I don't know who I'm angry at, because I don't really know whose fault it is. But somebody didn't make the right call."

She says she believes that if an Amber Alert had been issued, her son could have been saved before he turned up dead in Virginia.

She wants a change in the alert policy so other parents don't have to feel the same pain. Her friend Donna Amoscato has launched a Facebook advocacy group, Justice for Jovani.

The group caught the attention of state Sen. Phil Boyle. He says he plans to take the issue to the Senate floor. 

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