Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Custodial dad waits 2 weeks to report "disappearance" of 9-month-old son; dad has history of weapons, drug arrests (Utica, New York)

What an interesting series of events. "Shortly" after dad JEVON WAMELING gained custody, the baby (allegedly) "disappeared." But Dad said nothing about it until his own mother asked him about the baby's whereabouts--TWO WEEKS LATER.

Why was this guy granted custody? Obviously, the mother couldn't care for the baby while she was in rehab. But despite her issues, she kept the baby alive and present for nine months. Something Daddy can't claim. 

Somebody else should have assumed custody, obviously. But fathers rights so dominate these days, that fathers get custody with no questions asked.

2 weeks after boy disappears, police search for clues 
Police: Utica father didn't report 9-month-old missing for 2 weeks 

By ROCCO LaDUCA Observer-Dispatch
Posted Jun 12, 2013 @ 10:45 AM Last update Jun 12, 2013 @ 05:51 PM

UTICA — Why would a parent wait two weeks to report that his 9-month-old son had gone missing? 

That’s what Utica police are now trying to figure out after Jevon Wameling, 27, came forward Tuesday afternoon to reveal that his baby, Levon, disappeared on May 29 after he left the boy on his front porch in East Utica for a matter of minutes.

But more urgently, Utica police and New York State Police K-9 units spent several hours Wednesday searching the streets and wooded areas around 748 Jay St. for any clues about what happened to Levon.

Although police are not yet saying whether they believe Levon is dead or alive, they did say that Wameling is currently a “person of interest” in his son’s disappearance.

“Most people can draw their own conclusions whether his actions were suspicious or not,” Utica police Sgt. Steve Hauck said. “Suffice it to say that there is essentially no explanation for why you wouldn’t report a child missing after two weeks.”

According to Wameling’s version of events – which has already begun to make national news, officials said – Wameling took Levon for a late-night walk around the block May 29 because the boy was having trouble sleeping.

When Wameling and his son returned home around 11:30 p.m., Wameling said his front door was locked so he left Levon, wearing only a diaper, on the front porch briefly while he went around back to climb in through an upper window, Hauck said. Once Wameling opened the front door from the inside, that’s when he discovered that Levon was no where to be found.

Two weeks went by until Wameling’s concerned mother confronted her son and asked where the baby was, Hauck said. That’s when Wameling finally said he was gone.

Wameling’s family contacted a local attorney, who then reached out to the Oneida County District Attorney’s Office. The attorney was advised to contact Utica police, at which time the attorney brought Wameling to the police station for questioning at 3:20 p.m. Wednesday, Hauck said.

The attorney, however, made clear he was not representing Wameling in this matter, Hauck said. 

Shortly before Levon went missing, the boy’s mother had gone to a drug rehabilitation facility, leaving Wameling to be Levon’s sole caretaker, Hauck said. Police have since contacted Levon’s mother, who is Wameling’s girlfriend, and they plan to question her in the near future.

For now, however, police have to play “catch-up” two weeks later without knowing whether Levon’s disappearance is an actual abduction case or something worse.

For those in the neighborhood where police focused all their attention Wednesday morning, they found Wameling’s story hard to swallow.

“There’s no way I believe that anyone would get up and take that baby away,” said Reaver Singleton, who often keeps her eye on the block from her window late at night. “It doesn’t sound right, not in this area.”

But even if someone did quickly snatch Levon, Singleton wondered how any parent would let days and weeks go by without reporting the child’s disappearance.

Wameling’s landlord, Guy Palmieri, agreed. But knowing the type of second-floor tenant Wameling was for about four years, Palmieri said he doubts Wameling would be capable of harming his son. Wameling would frequently lock himself out of his apartment, Palmieri said, and occasionally would annoy his downstairs neighbor with loud music.

“I just don’t believe something bad happened, at least by him,” Palmieri said of Wameling. “I just don’t see him to be that kind of person, being mean to children.”

Wameling has had a history of minor encounters with police over the years, including a variety of drug and weapon arrests, according to O-D archives. In 2010, Wameling was charged with escaping police custody and with attempting to strike a police officer during his arrest. 

As police hope to talk to any family or friends who knew Wameling, investigators are also checking family court records for any custody disputes involving Levon that might suggest someone is hiding the boy.

Police have also reached out to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the missing person unit of the state Division of Criminal Justice Services. By Wednesday afternoon, the Missing and Exploited Children center had agreed to send several retired investigators to offer Utica police insight about what clues they should look for in this missing child case.

“Our goal is to find this kid,” Utica police Chief Mark Williams said. “Basically, manpower and overtime is not our concern. We will leave no stone unturned.”

Anyone with information about Levon’s whereabouts can call the Utica Police Department at 735-3301.