CENTER MORICHES, N.Y. (WCBS) — Two people have been arrested in connection to the death of a little boy last week on Long Island, with one of the accused being the child’s father, an NYPD officer.
Suffolk County police said 40-year-old Michael Valva and his fiancee, 42-year-old Angela Pollina, were both charged with second-degree murder.
Suffolk County police say it’s one of the most disturbing cases in the history of the county – an NYPD officer and his fiance accused of murdering a child: Officer Michael Valva’s son, 8-year-old Thomas Valva, who was autistic.
“Thomas Valva was subjected to freezing temperatures in the home’s unheated garage overnight when the outside temperature was 19 degrees,” Suffolk County Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart said.
Michael Valva allegedly told police his son fell in the driveway while waiting for the school bus, Hart said.
Friday morning, police swarmed the home of the couple on Bittersweet Lane in Center Moriches, carrying out evidence as neighbors stood by aghast.
“We are happy that he’s been arrested and that these children will not be abused anymore,” said neighbor Sharon Scarborough.
Michael Valva and Angela Pollina allegedly inflicted punishments on Thomas including starvation and exposure to “extremely frigid temperatures,” Hart said. Police are looking into whether the other children in the house were also treated that way.
Hart said that Thomas Valva’s mother Justyna Valva said her son was autistic.
A nurse assigned to the case said Thomas had bruises on his body and had not gained weight in a year.
“My son Thomas was just completely unjustly murdered. There’s a history of long-term abuse,” Justyna said.
McLogan spoke with Justyna, the estranged wife of Officer Valva. They have been going through a bitter divorce, and he was granted temporary custody of the couple’s three sons. Justyna Valva said she feared for their safety and had not seen the boys in two years until she was called to the medical examiner’s office to identify 8-year-old Michael.
“Thomas was this little 8-year-old boy, my baby, who always was joyful, always stands for the truth, play his cars, read books, loved songs,” Justyna said. “How unjustfully he was murdered. And right now, I just need closure, I just need justice for him.”
She now has temporary custody of their two other boys pending further family court hearings.
His father previously released a statement through a lawyer, saying, “As with any tragedy, our office and Mr. Valva are shocked and saddened to learn of the horrible accident that took the life of young Thomas Valva. We mourn his death with family and friends. Since Thomas’ parents are in a divorce we are unable to make any further comments at this time.”
The NYPD confirms Michael Valva is a transit officer, who joined the force in 2005. He is currently suspended without pay.