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Jovani Ligurgo
John Ligurgo III

NEW YORK (AP) — A 2-year-old Long Island boy and the father suspected of abducting him are believed to be dead in Virginia, police said Wednesday, a tragic development in a case where state police declined to issue an Amber Alert. Suffolk County police said they were awaiting positive identification to confirm that the bodies found in a vehicle in Rockbridge County are Jovani Ligurgo and his father, John. The vehicle has the same license plate as Ligurgo’s Jeep Grand Cherokee, police said. The Rockbridge County Sheriff’s office said investigators were still at the scene and would provide details later. Suffolk police were scheduled to give an update on the case Wednesday afternoon.

Jovani’s mother alerted police Tuesday after 43-year-old John Ligurgo failed to drop the boy off at her home between 3:30 and 4 p.m., as they had arranged. Suffolk police asked New York State Police to issue an Amber Alert, but state police said they did not provide enough information to meet the criteria for one. Amber Alerts are issued only when an abducted child is in danger of serious bodily harm or death, state police said. Suffolk police said Ligurgo may have been armed with a hunting rifle, but that they had no indication that he would harm his son. Cameras later recorded Ligurgo’s Jeep crossing the George Washington Bridge into New Jersey.

Jovani’s mother had dropped off the boy at Ligurgo’s condominium about 7 a.m. Tuesday to spend the day with his father. That afternoon, about a half-hour before she called police, a fire broke out in the bedroom of Ligurgo’s condo. Police said no one was there at the time.