Suffolk County Police Department held a press conference earlier today providing details into the active investigation in which a Center Moriches 8-year-old boy was pronounced dead last week on Friday, Jan. 17.
The father Michael Valva, 40, of Center Moriches, a confirmed New York City Police Officer, reported that his son Thomas Valva, 8, was found unconscious in the driveway after falling while waiting for the school bus at approximately 9:40 a.m. that morning.
Upon arrival, police found Michael Valva conducting CPR on his son in the basement of the home. He was then transported to Long Island Community Hospital where he was pronounced dead with a body temperature of 76 degrees.
However according to Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart, after further investigation from the police examiner, it was found that the timing and nature of the death did not conform to what the father had reported. Rather, police found that Thomas had never been in the driveway and had been left in the attached, unheated and unfinished garage overnight with outside temperatures of 19 degrees. He also sustained head and facial injuries that also did not fit the father’s account. The major contributing cause of death, according to the medical examiner’s office, was hypothermia.
“Police have arrested [both] Michael and Angela Pollina (his fiancée) for the death of his 8-year-old son for engaging in conduct that created a grave risk of death for this child,” she explained stating that both have been charged with Murder in the 2nd Degree. “We want to express our sincere condolences to Thomas Valva’s family and friends, especially his siblings.”
In the home, located on Bittersweet Lane in Center Moriches, Valva had two additional children aged 6 and 10; Angela Pollina, 42, and her twin daughters aged 11 and son aged 6 also lived in the home.
Police believe Michael Valva’s 10-year-old son was also a victim of the abuse while he and his brother Thomas were subject to punishment of food deprivation and exposure to frigid temperatures.
“We are still investigating the extent of the abuse and if it extended to all the children,” Hart added explaining that as of Friday, Jan. 17 Child Protective Services removed all five children from the home and are currently in a safe environment.
Hart explained that after a review of the video and audio footage taken from the family’s home surveillance system it had been revealed that the pair were closely monitoring all the actions and conversations of all five children. She also confirmed that according to Valva’s mother, Justyna Valva, who was undergoing a custody battle, Thomas suffered from autism but it was unconfirmed whether the 10-year-old son did as well.
Apparently Justyna Valva’s twitter account accounts years of abuse and the inability to gain custody of her children. According to police officers they have been called to the home before for the custody arraignment and a welfare check was done back in May of 2019. However, the family was not home at the time.
“An event of this magnitude, the death of a child this age it is unimaginable to all of us as parents and mothers,” Hart continued stating that the police are working closely with the commissioner of the Department of Social Services. “We are going to look at every interaction this child had with the system.”
The New York City Police Department stated that Michael Valva entered the department in 2005 assigned to transit. He has been suspended without pay.