SENECA FALLS, N.Y. — A mother and a stepfather were arrested in connection with the assault of a toddler in Seneca County.
Police say Alison and Donald Bovio, both 38, are charged with first degree assault of a 3-year-old boy.
Officials say the arrests stem from a medical call on Saturday, May 12 around 11:40 p.m. during which it was reported that a 3-year-old child fell down a flight of stairs. The child was hospitalized, and during treatment, medical staff determined that the victim’s injuries were inconsistent with that of a fall.
Police say the child remains in critical condition on life support, and should the victim succumb to injuries, further charges would be made.
According to court paperwork, Donald Bovio struck the boy with a belt numerous times, intentionally causing his head to strike a hard surface. Investigators say the boy’s mother also physically abused the child.
“It’s a horrific scene that we had to process," said Seneca Falls Police Chief Stuart Peenstra. "It’s tough on all of us who are going through this — all the way from the medical staff, fire personnel that showed up, Life Net, our staff. It’s difficult to see this type of injury to a child, but we'll do everything we can to make sure that justice is brought for this 3-year-old boy.”
A neighbor and maintenance worker at Hunter's Run Apartment Complex in Seneca Falls where the alleged abuse occurred say they knew something was wrong from the day the family moved in.
“The parents stood in my driveway for 30 minutes while that baby is over there. They weren’t being questioned at that time. They were just sitting there in their cars smoking cigarettes and laughing. I heard them laughing. And their baby is right there and they never even went, they never even went. And all of us people are watching and none of us slept, but those people came home Mother’s Day morning, had Mother’s Day tea like it was some event,” said Christine Power, a neighbor.
"We all knew right away that something was wrong. We voiced our concerns to the community and people with much more power than us were told and the police showed up a couple of times and nothing was done and we believe a lot more could have been done,” said Ben Fox, maintenance worker at Hunter’s Run.
Officials say the family has only lived in the area for two months after relocating from Massachusetts. Peenstra says Donald Bovio has an extensive criminal history. Seneca Falls police say they only responded to the residence one time and that was for a CPS follow up related to a case in Massachusetts. According to the Lynn Town Police Department in Massachusetts, Donald was arrested six times between 2004 and 2014.
Both Donald and Alison were arraigned in Seneca Falls Court and reprimanded to Seneca County Correctional Facility on $50,000 cash or $100,000 bond for bail. Their next court appearance is scheduled for May 18 at 5:30 p.m.
The Seneca Falls Police department says it is investigating the case with State Police.