Michael Valva & Angela Pollina charged w/ the murder of NYPD cop son’s Thomas after unrelenting instance of child abuse. Left in the cold to die.
‘Get your hand off his mouth!’ How bad was the alleged child abuse at the hands of a NYC transit cop and his fiancee at their Long Island home with their combined six children?
Officer Michael Valva, 40, and Angela Pollina, 42, were both charged with second-degree murder, CBSNY reports. The couple allegedly left Valva’s son, Thomas, overnight in the unheated, unfinished garage of their Long Island home last week, Suffolk County Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart said during a Friday press conference.
After finding him unresponsive, Valva called local police, saying Thomas had fallen in their Center Moriches driveway while waiting for the bus, Hart said. When police arrived, Valva was performing CPR on Thomas in the home’s basement. Thomas was transported to Long Island Community Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Hart said the temperature that night had been 19 Fahrenheit degrees and Thomas’s body temperature was 76 degrees. The medical examiner had ruled his death a homicide with hypothermia as a contributing factor, she said.
‘We have determined that Thomas was never in the driveway that morning, and he suffered head and facial injuries that were not consistent with his father’s account,’ Hart said.
#NEW NYPD Cop Michael Valva led from Suffolk police precinct, charged w/murder in death of 8 year old son last Friday. Police said child froze to death, after being forced to stay overnight in a frigid garage w/temps of 19 degrees. Valva’s fiancee charged also pic.twitter.com/NtKalre3nm
— Mary Murphy (@MurphyPIX) January 24, 2020
Captured home conversations: ‘Get your hand off his mouth!’
Both Valva and Pollina have pled not guilty according to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office. Both are still in custody after the prosecutor applied for them to be held without bail CNN reports.
Pollina’s attorney, Matthew Tuohy, maintained while Thomas’s death was a ‘tragedy,’ she did not play a role in his death.
‘I think that the case against her is extremely weak,’ Tuohy told via CNN. ‘It is purely speculation and conjecture at this point.’
Valva’s attorney, Austin Manghan, declined to comment.
Besides Thomas, the couple had custody of Valva’s other sons, ages 6 and 10, and Pollina’s 6-year-old and 11-year-old twin daughters. Hart said police reviewed audio and video recordings captured by the home’s indoor/outdoor home surveillance system and determined the couple were closely monitoring the activities and conversations of the six children.
In one conversation captured by the home surveillance system, Pollina is heard saying, ‘Get your hand off his mouth,’
Adding, ‘There’s people everywhere.’
It is believed Pollina had urged Valva to remove his hand from his son’s face the nytimes reported.
Not long after the recording was made, Thomas Valva was dead after having been kept overnight in the couple’s unheated Long Island garage as the temperature outside plunged to 19 degrees.
There had been warnings of child abuse the last two years during a bitter divorce:
There had been warnings that Officer Valva, and Pollina, might be harming at least some of the six children living with them — his three sons and her three daughters — at their home in Center Moriches, N.Y.
For at least two years, Officer Valva’s estranged wife, Justyna Zubko-Valva, sought to sound the alarm about what she said was his abuse of their sons, according to court filings in their divorce.
Police believe that Thomas and his older brother were deprived of food and kept in freezing temperatures as punishment, Hart said.
‘We are still investigating the extent of the abuse, and if it extended to all the children,’ Hart said.
Of disconcert, Newsday revealed a 2018 school report disclosing Thomas and his 10-year-old brother Anthony having ‘come into school hungry’ and that Anthony had ‘lost a significant amount of weight.’
‘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, who babysat the family from 2017 to 2018, told via the nypost.
Adding, ‘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.’
The children were removed from the home on January 17 following the death of Thomas.
But there’s more.
The Suffolk County Department of Social Services said it had investigated multiple complaints against the household, including a petition for child neglect in 2018. A judge ordered court-ordered home supervision and mandated that Valva and Pollina enroll in a positive parenting program.