For three months, Utica police have been searching for a missing child. Levon Wameling was last seen by his father when he left the child alone on their front porch for a few minutes. He was nine-months-old when he disappeared. On Saturday, family and friends celebrated his first birthday. YNN's Cara Thomas gives us a look into the bittersweet festivities.
UTICA, N.Y. -- It’s been one year since Amy Warney held her son for the first time.
"When he was born, he basically fit into the palm of my hands, so we called him Peanut," she said.
On Saturday, family and friends came out to celebrate Levon Wameling’s first birthday. And what’s supposed to be a happy day is painful instead. Three months ago, Levon was reported missing. He has yet to be found.
"I struggle day to day, but today just because it's birthday. I will not give up hope," said Warney.
The evening began with a balloon release. Levon’s mother says she hopes her son, wherever he is, will look up and see one of those balloons that were put in the sky just for him.
Following the balloon release, a birthday party was held for Levon. The party was also a benefit to raise money for a reward for anyone with information on the child's whereabouts.
Warney said, "My hope still has not gave up. I still believe that my son is out there and somebody does have him. And hopefully with this reward going up someone will come forward and be honest and let us know where Levon is."
Levon's story has touched the hearts of people across the Mohawk Valley. One business owner who had never met Levon or his family volunteered her time and resources to make this benefit possible.
Anna Knopka, the owner of I-KAN-C-U- Images, said, "There's still hope, or at least to give the family the support that they need to keep standing and holding up because if that was me, I couldn't hold up."
While the possibility that Levon is alive gets slimmer every day, Warney says she remains hopeful that she'll be able to hold her son in her arms once again.