Mother, step-father indicted after death of Seneca Falls 3-year-old

A memorial for the 3-year-old boy has been growing outside the apartment where the alleged assault that police say led to his death happened.

A grand jury has indicted a mother and a step-father on 12 counts following the death of a 3-year-old child, according to Seneca County District Attorney Barry Porsch.

Police said the child, identified as Panagiotis "Peter" Stephanides-Vacchino, passed away Wednesday afternoon at Upstate Golisano Children's Hospital in Syracuse. An autopsy to determine the child's exact cause of death will be conducted by the Onondaga County Medical Examiner's Office.

Police said the child's biological father arrived at the hospital "prior to final life decisions."

Porsch said a grand jury handed up the 12-count indictment against Donald and Alison Bovio, both 38, Thursday afternoon. The indictment includes:

  • 3 counts of second-degree murder
  • 2 counts of first-degree manslaughter
  • 1 count of second-degree manslaughter
  • 1 count of reckless assault of a child
  • 2 counts of second-degree assault
  • 1 count of fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon
  • 2 counts of endangering the welfare of a child

Donald and Alison Bovio, the step-father and mother of the child, were first charges after an investigation into a medical call 911 received from Donald Bovio reporting a child had fallen down a flight of stairs, according to Seneca Falls Police Chief Stuart Peenstra. Police said the child, a 3-year-old boy, was unresponsive and had substantial trauma to his head and body.

The boy was flown to Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse for treatment. Peenstra said during the treatment at the hospital, it was determined the boy's injuries were not consistent with a fall.

Court documents obtained by CNYCentral state that both suspects allegedly struck the victim "with a belt numerous times and intentionally caused his head to strike a hard floor surface." This apparently caused the victim to become unconscious. Documents also said the victim was unable to breathe on his own and stated he has "bleeding on his brain."

RELATED | Three-year-old continues to fight for his life after alleged assault

The child was unresponsive and had no brain activity as a result of these injuries, the documents said. These incidents allegedly happened at 25 Peterman Road Apartment 2A in the Town of Seneca Falls.

As he left family court Tuesday afternoon, Donald Bovio denied beating the boy. When asked if he felt remorse, Bovio replied, "Yes I do."

Police said the couple moved to the Seneca Falls area about two months ago from Salem, Massachusetts. Donald Bovio has an "extensive criminal history." Alison Bovio has no prior criminal history, according to police.

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