Donald and Alison Bovio now face murder charges following the death of a three-year-old boy on Wednesday (May 16) afternoon.
On May 12 at around 11:40 p.m., Donald Bovio, three-year-old Panagiotis Stephanides-Vacchino’s stepfather, called 911 to say that the child fell down the stairs.
When the authorities responded to the scene, Panagiotis, whom the family called “Peter,” was not responsive. According to reports, Bovio severely hit the boy with a belt, and the child hit his head on the floor, falling into unconsciousness.
Peter is Alison’s biological son, and Donald’s stepson. In a news conference, Seneca Falls Police Chief Stuart Peenstra revealed that the child was on life support at Upstate University Hospital following the incident. Reports now indicate that he died on May 16.
Peenstra added that the child was likely assaulted before the May 12 incident, noting injuries on Peter’s entire body that indicate he may have been abused for some time.
On May 14, Alison and Donald Bovio, both 38, were charged by the Seneca Falls Police Department for assault. Seneca County District Attorney Barry Porsch explained that both parents are now facing second-degree murder charges in a 12-count indictment.
The couple is charged with three counts of second-degree murder; two counts each of first-degree manslaughter, second-degree assault, and endangering the welfare of a child; and one count each of fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon, second-degree manslaughter, and reckless assault of a child.
An autopsy will be done to determine the exact cause of Peter Vacchino’s death. Authorities contacted the child’s biological father, who made the decision about his son’s care.