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Suffolk, NY State Police defend response to abduction of 2-year-old boy found dead

NEW YORK — Authorities are defending their response to the suspected abduction of a 2-year-old New York boy who was found dead with his father in Virginia in an apparent murder-suicide.

Suffolk County and New York State Police issued a joint statement Thursday amid criticism from Jovani Ligurgo’s family for declining to issue an Amber Alert.

The agencies say they worked “quickly and diligently” to locate Jovani and were “extremely saddened” by his death.

Jovani and his 43-year-old father, John Ligurgo, were found Wednesday in a Jeep that had been set on fire behind a Raphine home. Each had a gunshot wound.

Suffolk police wanted an Amber Alert, but state police said information they provided didn’t meet the criteria for one.

The agencies say every aspect of the investigation will be thoroughly reviewed.

The full statement is below:

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.