Jovani, age 2, was a beautiful innocent little boy who was tragically murdered at the hands of his father on June 6, 2018. He was kidnapped the day before at approximately 3 pm, after his father set fire to his apartment in Coram, NY. Jovani and his father were found deceased at approximately 8:45am the next morning in a rural VA town, 16 hours after his disappearance and several states away. Sixteen hours that could have been spent saving his life. There are several bridges, tunnels and toll roads between NY and VA. The father was not stopped because there was no multi area Amber Alert issued in Jovani's disappearance.
The back story: Jovani's mother Maria and father, recently had separated. When the father failed to drop Jovani off at Maria's house on Tuesday afternoon at 3:30, Maria immediately called police and reported him missing and informed the Suffolk County Police department detectives that she believed the father had a gun. The father's apartment was on fire and the gun was missing.
Shortly after setting fire to his apartment, the father cancelled his cell phone plan, and was seen by toll camera leaving NY over the George Washington Bridge into NJ. The New York State police were notified by the SCPD of the kidnapping, yet despite being told that the father had the gun, and had lit his apartment on fire, failed to issue and Amber Alert for Jovani. They felt his case did not meet the criteria to issue one. The NYSPD made the assumption that the father would not harm his own child because of his background. Unfortunately, their judgement was wrong, and it cost Jovani his life.
Sadly, Jovani lost his life and no one listened to the plea of his mother Maria. She is left to live her life without her precious son.
We are petitioning the state to make a change to the Amber Alert System criteria.
We are asking that in cases where custody is split between parents, and/or where there is a current custody case ongoing, that a deviation from the set court appointed custody times be added to the criteria as reason to issue the Alert if contact with the fleeing parent can not be established.
We are also asking that when a weapon capable of causing bodily harm or death is suspected of being in the possession of the abductor, that an Amber Alert be issued immediately. And also that if there is the suspicion of or known mental health issue of the abducting parent, that an alert be issued.
We are asking that in states where toll booths for tunnels and bridges are present, that they be updated with an alarm system to notify police if the vehicle the abductor is driving exits the primary state in which the child resides once the amber alert is issued.
Every effort should be made to protect our children. We know the amber alert system is capable of saving lives when issued. But without the proper criteria, the system is useless.
We can not make the assumption that in Jovani's case the system would not have mattered because we really do not know that. But, it would have been an effort to try.
Join us in petitioning for a change. So that no family has to endure losing a child due to technicalities set forth by a failing alert system.