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Newly proposed 'Levon's Law' likely not moving forward

By ANNA MEILER

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) -- The recently proposed legislation, Levon's Law, which would make it a felony to fail to report a missing child in a timely manner, likely won't be moving forward.

Jevon Wameling, who recently pleaded guilty to manslaughter, had waited two weeks to report his child, Levon Wameling missing. Months later, the day after Wameling was arrested for burglary, police found the 9-month-old's body in the Mohawk River.

If the law had already been in place, it wouldn't have saved Baby Levon's life, but his family says it could have prevented many excruciating months without answers.

"The way I see it is as soon as he was in jail he started talking. If this was a law already, he would've been stuck in jail the minute they found out he waited two weeks and he would've done the same thing, started talking right away and my family wouldn't have had to sit there for months wondering where he was," said Tiffany Smith, Baby Levon's aunt.

So they support Gordon's efforts to create new legislation.

"I don't want Levon to be forgotten and this should never happen. There should never be a family wondering where a loved one is," said Smith.

Many people agree it should be a felony to fail to report a missing child but a state representative said that legislation that can't be passed locally. It's something that needs to be handled on a state level.

"Usually when you're talking about changes to penal law or criminal procedure that's something only the state can do," said Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi, (D) Assembly District 119.

Brindisi hopes instead the county will get behind the Protect our Children Act - statewide legislation that would penalize not reporting a missing child within 24 hours.

"It wasn't able to get acted on last session, but I expect it will be coming up again this year," said Brindisi.

Those who enforce the law would also like to see it passed statewide.

"When it comes to the creation of local laws, they do not go through the same scrutiny as state laws and when they go to court they're not given the same respect by judges and attorneys," said Chief Mark Williams of the Utica Police Department.

The legislature goes back into session in January. Baby Levon's aunt said she'll be hitting the streets to rally support.

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