Michael, who worked for the New York Police Department for 15 years, was accused of causing his 8-year-old autistic son’s death last year. Now, a pre-trial testimony has shockingly revealed that the Long Island resident kept a family dog in a heated room while locking up little son in a freezing garage. Unfortunately, the child died of hypothermia after sleeping on the floor all night as temperatures outside reached 19 degrees. As a result, Michael and his then-fiancee were charged with murder in connection with the January 17, 2020 death of the boy.
During a pre-trial, the family’s housekeeper, Tyrene Rodriguez, shared that she got the cleaning supplies from a muddy room where their dog “Bella” slept. When the Suffolk County prosecutor asked Rodriguez whether or not the room was heated, she replied in the affirmative. She also recalled the child’s painful final moments and said she heard Thomas weeping when she arrived that morning to clean their house. She saw the couple escort the little boy to the basement. However, Pollina returned just minutes later and appeared distressed as she revealed that Thomas was not breathing.
Rodriguez immediately rushed to help the couple as Valva administered CPR on the boy. She leaned the boy’s head backward to keep his airways open but their efforts were in vain as the child passed away shortly after. “He was very cold.” “He was damp.” The pre-trial hearing was conducted to determine whether or not some of the evidence should be admitted during the murder trial of Valva. This comes as the defense attorneys challenged investigators if they had permission to search the home of the family or not.
Apparently, their neighbor Laura Lauretta also testified during the hearing as she recalled witnessing Pollina in bed at the Long Island Community Hospital following the boy’s death. “She was groggy,” said Lauretta. “She was sleeping. She was moaning.” As for the accused, both Valva and Pollina have pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree murder.
Shortly after the death of his son, Valva resigned from the NYPD to safeguard his pension. “He executed paperwork in that regard today, which protects his benefits and his pension. There’s no admission of any wrongdoing. It allows him to forgo any disciplinary hearing and in exchange, he will no longer receive any salary or any future benefits,” Valva’s lawyer John LoTurco said.
Prosecutor alleged that both Thomas and his older brother Anthony were forced to sleep on the frigid floor of the garage without any blankets or pillows. While on his way to school the following day, Thomas lost consciousness and collapsed as his body temperature dropped to 76 degrees. Officers were able to recover a recording from the day of the child’s death that revealed the couple’s alleged indifference towards Thomas’s welfare.
In the recording, Anthony asks the couple, “Why can’t Thomas walk?” To this Pollina allegedly responds, “When you’re washed with cold water and it’s freezing, you get hypothermia.” When Valva is asked why Thomas was falling, the heartless man allegedly said, “Because he’s cold. Boo f–king hoo.” What more infuriating is the fact the Suffolk County’s Child Protective Services got at least 17 calls about possible abuse of the children, shortly before Thomas died. But none of the calls were taken seriously.
“They got the complaint about the children sleeping in the garage,” Thomas’ distressed mother Justyna Zubko-Valva said. She also told the outlet previously that her boys were suffering emotional, physical, and mental abuse from their father. She added that there were other complaints, including some from teachers who alleged that the boys would look “for food in the garbage at school,” and that they would come in “with urine-soaked clothing.” Zubko-Valva continued, “Those allegations should’ve been automatically investigated and the boys should have been removed from that abusive situation. But that never happened. The system’s designed to protect the abusers and fails loving, caring parents.”