The search for a young Long Island boy kidnapped by his father came a to a grim end when police in Virginia found the pair dead in an apparent murder suicide, authorities said.
The bodies of John Ligurgo III, 43, and his little son Jovani, 2, were found by sheriff’s deputies in Rockbridge County, Virginia, at about 8:45 a.m. Wednesday, following a manhunt that began after Ligurgo apparently torched his home on Long Island, according to a Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman.
The kidnapping came after a contentious custody battle between Ligurgo and Jovani’s mom, who had dropped the tot off at his dad’s house early on Tuesday morning, about eight hours before emergency responders showed up to the home in response to calls about a fire, the sheriff's department spokeswoman told Oxygen.com.
Ligurgo, who was believed to have been toting a hunting rifle, fled the state in a jeep, the same vehicle in which he and Jovani’s bodies were found Wednesday morning, police said. The fire, and subsequent disappearance of the father and child, sparked a manhunt.
Authorities did not issue an Amber Alert, leaving Jovani’s grieving mother, Maria Busone, frustrated and asking why authorities didn’t do more to save her boy, according to News 12 Long Island.
“The child is not where he is supposed to be and the house is on fire. Find the child,” Busone told the news station, describing her son as a “bundle of joy.”
“How many children need to be lost before the law is changed or a criteria is changed,” she asked a News 12 reporter.
The New York State Police on Wednesday called the abduction and apparent murder-suicide a “terrible tragedy,” but said the case didn’t warrant an Amber Alert because Ligurgo did not have a criminal record or a history of violence, according to Newsday.
Like the father's Long Island condominium, the Jeep in which the pair were found in Virginia had also been set ablaze, police in Virginia told Newsday.
[Photo: Suffolk County Police Department]