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Police confirm identity of baby's remains found in New York river

By Michael Martinez, CNN
updated 11:20 AM EDT, Mon September 23, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Police confirm baby is the same infant missing from Utica, New York
  • Levon Wameling was 10 months old when father reported him taken from home
  • Medical examiners haven't determined the cause of death
  • Father took two weeks to report baby missing

(CNN) -- Authorities confirmed the remains found in an upstate New York river were of a baby boy reported missing from Utica in June, police said Saturday.

Extensive DNA testing, performed at the Onondaga County medical examiner's office in Syracuse, verified the baby was Levon Wameling, who was 10 months old when his father reported the child was taken while unattended from the house porch, authorities said.

The medical examiner, however, hasn't provided a cause of death, said Sgt. Steve Hauck, spokesman for Utica police.

After receiving information, state police divers found the child in a container in the Mohawk River on September 6, authorities said.

"The Utica Police continue to investigate this case, with the hope that the truth will be learned and the person(s) responsible are held accountable," Hauck said in a statement.

Earlier this month, the boy's father, Jevon Wameling, was arrested by New York State Police and accused of breaking into a home in a suburb of Utica to steal jewelry and money.

Hauck said then he wouldn't say whether the father had anything to do with the tip leading police to the remains, citing the ongoing investigation, but the circumstances of Levon's disappearance raised questions about the boy's father from the start.

Wameling took two weeks to go to an attorney's office and then call police to report Levon's disappearance, authorities said back in June.

"Based on the information that he's given us, we have a lot of concern," Utica Police Chief Mark Williams said at the time.

"We have a problem with what he says," Williams said. "There's no question about it."

The father told investigators he took the child out for a late-night walk and locked himself out of his home, so he put the boy down on the small front porch and went around back to find a way in.

When he opened the front door, the baby was gone, the father told police.

Levon would have turned a year old on August 31, police said.

CNN's Chris Boyette contributed to this report.

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