A New York City police officer from Center Moriches and his fiancée have been accused of killing the man’s 8-year-old son by leaving him in a freezing garage overnight last week, Suffolk County police said.
Michael Valva, 40, and his 42-year-old fiancée, Angela Pollina, were arrested Friday on charges of second-degree murder. Suffolk police alleged the boy, Thomas Valva, died after being left in the unheated garage of the house overnight in freezing temperatures.
“They engaged in conduct which created a grave risk of death to this child,” Suffolk County Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart told reporters Friday during a news conference at police headquarters in Yaphank. Hart said the temperatures overnight hit a low of 19 degrees on the night that the boy died.
Suffolk police officers responded to the couple’s Bittersweet Lane home at 9:40 a.m. Jan. 17, when the boy was reported to have fallen in the driveway of the home. The father told responding officers that the boy was unconscious after hitting his head while walking to the bus stop on his way to school.
The child, who reportedly had autism, was taken to Long Island Community Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. His body temperature was 76 degrees at the time. He also had injuries that did not appear to be from a fall, police said.
Homicide Squad detectives found inconsistencies in the father’s story, Hart said. Investigators found evidence that Thomas and his 10-year-old brother were subjected to extreme forms of punishment, Hart added. The couple has four other children as well. The children have been removed from the home.
Valva and Pollina are scheduled to be arraigned Friday at First District Court in Central Islip. The NYPD said Valva joined the force in 2005, was assigned to transit, and was suspend without pay following his arrest. Police are continuing the investigation.