They say that CPS was involved with the family and that safeguards were ordered to protect the children. Despite those orders, Suffolk County police say Thomas Valva was repeatedly abused by his father, 40-year-old NYPD Officer Michael Valva, and his father’s fiancee, 42-year-old Angela Pollina.
The announcement comes after multiple people, including the boy’s mother, have been saying that CPS were notified about ongoing abuse in the home.
Valva’s biological mother Justyna Zubko-Valva says she tried for years to have the child and her two other sons taken away from their father.
Zubko-Valva says she tried for years to have the child and her two other sons taken away from their father — even providing documents that she says highlight unthinkable abuse, including food depravation, exposure to extreme cold, and a lack of basic hygiene.
The couple is accused of forcing Thomas Valva to spend the night in their unheated garage when temperatures outside dropped under 20 degrees.
The next day, police were called to the house on a report that the child had fallen in the driveway. He was pronounced dead after being taken to the hospital.
DA: Father, fiancee watched 8-year-old boy die in freezing garage in Center Moriches
According to police, the boy was never in the driveway and his face and head injuries were inconsistent with the 911 call.
Suffolk Social Services Commissioner Frances Pierre said in a statement that petitions against the family for child neglect were filed in Suffolk Family Court in 2018. The statement also says that “safeguards ordered to protect the children included court-ordered home supervision for a period of one year. Orders of protection for the parents to refrain from harmful behaviors towards the children and mandated participation in a positive parenting program had been put in place.”
Thomas Valva’s mother said more should have been done.
“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,'” said Justyna Zubko-Valva. “There was evidence, hard evidence. Reports filed. Children were telling me too, about the abuse.”
One of the reports from February of last year focuses on Thomas’ older brother, Anthony. It reads, “Anthony has been coming to school with his clothes and backpack soaked in urine. Anthony has been staying in the garage and is not allowed in his room due to him urinating in his bed.”
Mother of slain 8-year-old boy says father was abusive for years
Michael Valva and Pollina were both charged with second-degree murder and are being held without bail.
Michael Valva has also been suspended without pay from the NYPD.
“They caused the death of this little boy and then they watched him die,” says Suffolk District Attorney Tim Sini. “And during that, they showed not only any regard for his life, but they showed callousness that I certainly have never seen in my time as a prosecutor or as a police commissioner.”