Thomas Valva died last week after being made to spend the night in a freezing garage. The eight-year-old suffered hypothermia
Social services are under investigation in connection with the death of a cop’s autistic son who died of hypothermia after being locked in a freezing garage overnight as a punishment despite years of claims from his mother that he was being abused.
Thomas Valva died after losing consciousness in his father’s garage last week in Long Island.
The eight-year-old boy had been forced into the frigid garage with no bedding by his father, Mike, and his father’s fiancee, Angela Pollina.
At first, the couple claimed he died as the result of a ‘tragic accident’ and they even collected money for his funeral on a GoFundMe page. They were charged with his murder after an autopsy revealed Thomas’s injuries and condition when he died were not consistent with the story they gave.
Now, questions have turned to why the pair were allowed to look after him after his mother and teachers made repeated allegations of abuse.
The boy was taken away from his mother, who is a Rikers Island correctional guard , when she and his father divorced.
It is not exactly clear what specific reason the judge used for putting them in Valva’s care but Justyna has suggested it is because she is a Polish migrant and was on the back-foot during their custody case because she did not have a lawyer.
She also alleged that her ex falsely accused her of abuse.
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said on Monday night that he would launch an investigation into how her complaints were handled.
‘As a parent, I am horrified by what happened to this beautiful boy.
‘As county executive, I want to know if there is anything else that could have been done under existing law to prevent this from happening.
‘Beyond that, I want to know if anything in this case suggests that changes should be made to existing policy or law,’ he said.
Mike Valva (left) and Angela Pollina (right) are being held on murder charges for the young boy’s death. They taunted him as he froze to death in their garage
Thomas’ mother Justyna had regularly reported her concerns to child services but her son was allowed to carry on living with his father
Thomas was one of six children in Mike and Angela’s care. All have now been removed from the home
After news of her son’s death emerged last week, Justyna wrote on Twitter: ‘I want to personally thank each one of you for love and support towards me and my children.
‘I am still extremely heartbroken, and devastated over the cruel and tragic death of my little angel Thomas that could have been preventable.
‘Please continue keeping us in your prayers.’
Since 2018, she has been publicly accusing Valva of abusing their boys on a Twitter page where she showed videos of them telling her they had been told to hate her.
The videos also showed the boys saying they were scared they were going to be put ‘outside’ by their father.
Teachers also reported their concerns to Justyna.
They claimed in letters to her that the boys showed up at school hungry, dirty and sometimes in urine-soaked clothes.
Letters from school psychologists and teachers paint a worrying picture of the boys’ life with their father
Another teacher wrote a letter laying out her concerns for Thomas and his brother
Disturbing tweets from Justyna’s account, like this one, date back to more than a year before her son’s death
It remains unclear why nothing was done to take Thomas out of the care of his father and his father’s fiancee Angela Pollina
Justyna reported her concerns but nothing was done to take the boys away from thei father.
Her last tweet before that was in November 2018, when she wrote ominously: ‘I don’t even know if my children are alive at this point.’
According to police, cameras and microphones that had been set up in Mike Valva’s home captured audio of him and Angela taunting Thomas as he froze to death.
They sniggered ‘he’s hypothermic’ and laughed when he ‘face-planted’ the floor.
Pollina remarked: ‘You know why he’s falling?’ to which Valva replied: ‘Because he’s cold…. boo f*****g hoo’.
The home in Long Island where the boy was subjected to horrifying abuse by his father