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NYPD cop ‘taunted his autistic eight-year-old son who died of hypothermia for being cold’

An NYPD officer and his fiancée who allegedly starved and abused his autistic eight-year-old son taunted the child for being cold as he collapsed from hypothermia after being forced into an unheated garage overnight in ‘freezing temperatures.’

Micahel Valva, 40, and Angela Pollina, 42, attempted to emulate the Brady Bunch with their blended family -Valva’s three sons and Pollina’s three children- but that facade fell apart after little Thomas Valva died on January 17.     .

Valva’s initial story – that Thomas was trying to catch the school bus and died after falling in the driveway- quickly came apart as homicide detectives investigated the death. 

During the ordeal, Valva is reportedly recorded saying ‘boo f**cking hoo’ and that he was ‘f**king suffocating’the child 

The couple was arrested at their Long Island home for second-degree murder on Friday by Suffolk County officers.

Eight-year-old Thomas (pictured) died on January 17 after being ‘starved, beaten and locked overnight in a garage in freezing temperatures’

Pictured: Michael Valva

Angela Pollina

Protective services ignored complaints that NYPD officer Michael Valva (left) and Angela Pollina (right) made his sons sleep in the garage

Pictured: The couple's home at 11 Bittersweet Lane in the Center Moriches hamlet in Long Island where Thomas died on January 17

Pictured: The couple’s home at 11 Bittersweet Lane in the Center Moriches hamlet in Long Island where Thomas died on January 17

The tragic incident began when Valva became enraged with Thomas and proceeded to beat the child before banishing the boy to the family’s frigid garage when temperatures were a bitter 19 degrees that night.  

The following morning, Thomas was so cold that he was ‘face-planting’ on the floor because his body had gone into hypothermia, according to Assistant District Attorney Laura Newcombe who cited extensive audio recording’s taken from home security footage. 

Valva and Pollina used several cameras to closely monitor the children’s activities and conversations.  

New York Post reports that one of the other children asks why Thomas can’t walk. 

Pollina said: ‘Because he’s hypothermic. When you wash with cold water and it’s freezing out you become hypothermic’

The alleged murderers: Valva and Pollina (pictured with Thomas and their other children) were charged with second-degree murder on Friday

The alleged murderers: Valva and Pollina (pictured with Thomas and their other children) were charged with second-degree murder on Friday

She later asks Valva the same question only to receive a callous response from the father. 

‘Because he’s cold. Boo f**king hoo,’ he said, according to prosecutors at the couple’s arraignment. 

At one point, Pollina walked into the garage and asked Valva what he was doing. 

‘I’m f**king suffocating him that’s what I’m doing,’ Valva said, prompting Pollina to answer, ‘Take your hands off his mouth. There are people everywhere.’

Before calling 911, Valva is said to have placed the boy’s cold body in a warm bath to raise his core temperature.

Authorities were dispatched to 11 Bittersweet Lane around 9.40am following reports that Thomas had fallen in the driveway and lost consciousness.

Medical staff say Thomas' body temperature was just 76 degrees when they attempted to revive him

Pictured: Thomas Valva

Thomas Valva (pictured) was a second-grader at East Moriches Elementary School and lived with his father

Responding officers found Valva performing CPR on Thomas in the basement before he was rushed to Long Island Community Hospital and pronounced dead.     

Thomas’ body temperature was just 76 degrees – 21 degrees below a normal temperature – when doctors later attempted to revive him.

‘The medical examiner has ruled it a homicide with a major contributing factor of hypothermia. We believe certainly that Thomas was kept in the garage overnight preceding his death,’ Suffolk Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart said, according to NBC News.        

In addition to hypothermia, Thomas also suffered head and face injuries that were not consistent with Valva’s story.

The couple ‘engaged in conduct which created a grave risk of death to this child,’ said Hart. 

Hart said: ‘As with any unattended death, homicide detectives conducted an investigation which revealed inconsistencies in the timing and the nature of the child’s injures as reported by his father.’

‘We have determined Thomas was never in the driveway that morning and he suffered head and facial injuries that were not consistent with the father’s account.’ 

Besides Thomas, Valva’s six-year-old and 10-year-old brothers lived with the couple, as did Pollina’s 11-year-old twin daughters and her six-year-old son.  

The home security footage also helped investigators discovered that Valva’s other sons were punished with ‘food deprivation and exposure to extremely frigid temperatures.’

Nearly every room was set up with surveillance cameras that were labelled based on on the child’s name and room. 

Thomas' mother, Justyna Zubko-Valva (left), a correction's officer, said: 'I just keep praying for this case to be fully resolved and my little angel Thomas to rest peacefully in heaven…I just wished somebody helped him'

Thomas’ mother, Justyna Zubko-Valva (left), a correction’s officer, said: ‘I just keep praying for this case to be fully resolved and my little angel Thomas to rest peacefully in heaven…I just wished somebody helped him’

Authorities say eight-year-old Thomas Valva (pictured) died of hypothermia after he was kept inside a garage overnight in 'freezing temperatures'

Authorities say eight-year-old Thomas Valva (pictured) died of hypothermia after he was kept inside a garage overnight in ‘freezing temperatures’ 

The camera found inside the garage was ominously labelled ‘kids room.’ 

Thomas and Anthony Valva, his older brother, were seen on camera sleeping on the garage’s concrete floor and ‘shivering’ two nights before the boy’s death. 

‘They are on cold concrete. There are no pillows, no blankets, no mattress,’ said Newcombe.

He added that authorities had conducted a welfare check at the home in May 2019, but the family was not home. 

The remaining children have been placed in Child Protective Services.

‘We are still investigating the extent of the abuse and if it extended to all of the children,’ said Hart. 

A lawyer representing the Pollina (left) and Valva (right) say the couple maintains their innocence and have not admitted to any wrongdoing

A lawyer representing the Pollina (left) and Valva (right) say the couple maintains their innocence and have not admitted to any wrongdoing 

A former nanny for the family said she witnessed the boys constantly being yelled at during her time babysitting from 2017 to 2018. 

‘It’s sad. They wanted to give the impression they were the ‘Brady Bunch’ family when it was more like a home crashing,’ Amanda Wildman said.

‘There was always screaming. The boys were constantly being yelled at. There never was a day where somebody wasn’t screaming and the boys would just sit there quietly and take it.’  

Justyna Zubko-Valva, Thomas’ biological mother, has long voiced her concerns over her children’s alleged abuse and is mourning the lose of her son from a preventable situation. 

Zubko-Valva, a corrections officer on Rikers Island, said her sons suffered abuse at the hands of Valva and that the older man had anger issues.

She claims that Valva tortured their children by starving, beating and locking them inside the garage for periods of time.

Valva (right) is said to have repeatedly punished his sons with 'food deprivation and exposure to extremely frigid temperatures

Valva (right) is said to have repeatedly punished his sons with ‘food deprivation and exposure to extremely frigid temperatures

She says the children would go to school with soiled clothing and wear diapers, despite all of them being potty trained by age two.

‘No one did anything,’ said Zubko-Valva, adding that the children allegedly scoured for food in the school garbage on the floor.

She said she fought for justice for her children for five years, but was unable to gain custody before tragedy struck.

 Zubko-Valva previously lost custody of her children and had not seen them in two years. It’s unclear why she did not have custody of the children. 

A 2018 East Moriches School District report Zubko-Valva shared on Twitter showcases the depths of abuse Thomas and his siblings suffered.

‘Biggest concern is that Mr. Valva and his fiance Angela do not understand the depth of Anthony and Thomas’s disabilities,’ the report read, regarding Thomas’ brother.

‘Both Anthony and Thomas come into school hungry and frequently say they did not eat breakfast because they did not ask for breakfast or got in trouble.’

‘The boys were afraid to go to the nurses’s office for a while and they said it was because they were directed by Mr. Valva and Angela not to go to the nurse’s office.’

Anthony had allegedly dropped around 11 pounds over the course of nine months.

A 2018 East Moriches School District report detailed concerns of abuse for Valva's two oldest sons, including being denied food and losing significant weight

A 2018 East Moriches School District report detailed concerns of abuse for Valva’s two oldest sons, including being denied food and losing significant weight 

The report says: 'Both Anthony and Thomas come into school hungry and frequently say they did not eat breakfast because they did not ask for breakfast or got in trouble'

The report says: ‘Both Anthony and Thomas come into school hungry and frequently say they did not eat breakfast because they did not ask for breakfast or got in trouble’

Despite concerns from East Moriches School District and Zubko-Valva, Child Protective Services ignored complaints that Valva made his oldest son sleep in the garage. 

New York state’s Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) received a complaint in February that the now 10-year-old son of suspected murderer Michael Valva, 40, was coming to school in soiled clothes after being forced to sleep in the garage.

The allegations were dismissed as ‘unfounded’ by child welfare and the case closed the following day. 

Records have now emerged showing that authorities were aware of long-running child abuse in the home.

They show that a phone call was made to child services, by an unnamed caller, on February 27 stating that Valva’s son Anthony was forced to sleep in the garage because he was wetting the bed. 

‘For the past week, Anthony (9) has been coming to school with his clothes and backpack soaked in urine,’ states the OCFS record, seen by The Post.

Thomas' distraught mother Justyna Zubko-Valva (pictured) said she had raised the alarm about Valva abusing their children but child services did nothing

Thomas’ distraught mother Justyna Zubko-Valva (pictured) said she had raised the alarm about Valva abusing their children but child services did nothing

Records show a phone call was made to child services, by an unnamed caller, on February 27 stating that Anthony was forced to sleep in the garage because he was wetting the bed. Despite the severity of the allegations, the record shows the agency closed the investigation just one day later

Records show a phone call was made to child services, by an unnamed caller, on February 27 stating that Anthony was forced to sleep in the garage because he was wetting the bed. Despite the severity of the allegations, the record shows the agency closed the investigation just one day later

‘Anthony has been staying in the garage and is not allowed in his room due to him urinating in his bed … Step mother (Angela) and Father (Michael) are aware that the child is arriving at school soiled and fail to adequately address the concern.’ 

It adds: ‘The child’s feet and hands are bright red, but it unknown if this is as a result of the child being soaked in urine.’ 

Despite the severity of the allegations, the record shows the agency closed the investigation just one day later, citing it a ‘duplicate’.   

The record was sent to Anthony and Zubko-Valva, in May 2019 along with a letter which dismissed the allegations as ‘unfounded’.   

‘The investigating district/agency has determined the report to be unfounded and the subject (perpetrator) and other persons named in the report(s) have been notified,’ wrote Kristin Gleeson, the director of the state central register division of child welfare and community services, in the letter.  

‘Every time, I kept telling the judge – ‘If you’re not going to remove the children, they are going to die under his care and custody,’ she told News 12 Long Island. 

‘There was evidence, hard evidence. Reports filed. Children were telling me, too, about the abuse.’ 

She said this whole time Child Protective Services did nothing to protect her kids.  

Zubko-Valva (left), who lost custody of her children, has not seen Thomas (right) or his siblings in two years

Zubko-Valva shared photos of herself and her three sons on Facebook in 2017, saying that was the last time she saw her children

Zubko-Valva (left), who lost custody of her children, has not seen Thomas (right) or his siblings in two years

Zubko-Valva said ex-husband Michael Valva (pictured) was abusive towards their three sons and had problems with his anger

Zubko-Valva said ex-husband Michael Valva (pictured) was abusive towards their three sons and had problems with his anger

‘No one did anything,’ said Zubko-Valva, adding that the children allegedly scoured for food in the school garbage on the floor.

‘I just really want justice for my son. He deserves it. This should never have happened,’ she said.

‘I just keep praying for this case to be fully resolved and my little angel Thomas to rest peacefully in heaven…I just wished somebody helped him’

In a Facebook post, Zubko-Valva shared a photo of the last time she saw her sons.

‘The last kiss from my youngest son before he was taken away from me … He always showed me so much love,’ she wrote.

‘My three loving children, whom two of them have special needs were taken away from me and deprived from any form of communication and contact with me. I was punished by the judge for loving my children unconditionally.’    

The couple says they are innocent of any wrong doing.

‘Both of them maintain their innocence 100 per cent. We’ll see how the facts bear out,’ Matthew Tuohy, their lawyer, said.

Valva released a statement regarding his son’s death through his attorney.

‘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,’ it read.

‘We mourn his death with family and friends. Since Thomas’ parents are in the midst of a divorce, we are unable to make any further comments at this time.’  

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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