NYPD Officer, Fiancée Plead Not Guilty In Death Of 8-Year-Old Long Island Boy

WCBS 880 Newsroom
February 06, 2020 - 3:06 pm
Angela Pollina and Michael Valva

Suffolk County Police


RIVERHEAD, N.Y. (WCBS 880) — The NYPD officer and his fiancée accused in the death of the officer's 8-year-old son faced a judge Thursday.

Michael Valva, 40, is accused of leaving his son, Thomas, in a freezing cold garage overnight when the temperature was just 19 degrees.

Thomas died from hypothermia. Authorities said the boy's body temperature was 76 degrees when he was found.

Valva and fiancée, 42-year-old Angela Pollina, have been indicted on charges of second-degree murder and endangering the welfare of a child. They pleaded not guilty to the charges at their arraignment in court in Riverhead and have been remanded without bail.

In court, the prosecutor called it a "house of horrors" because of the abuse and neglect that she says Thomas and his brother — both diagnosed with autism — endured for years living with Valva and Pollina.

She said Thomas was thrown down the steps, punched and starved on a daily basis.

Officials allege the boys were forced to rummage through the garbage at school or under the bleachers looking for food and Thomas would often come to school soaked in urine because he was not allowed to go to the bathroom at home.

On the day he died, the prosecutor said Pollina was seen on video inside the house fixing her hair while Thomas was lifeless on the ground after being forced to sleep without blakets or pillows on the freezing cold garage floor.

Thomas' mother, who lost custody of the boys in the divorce, could be heard sobbing in the courtroom as the prosecutor went into graphic detail about the "evil, callous and cruel" treatment of her son.

"I just kept thinking about how much abuse all my children encountered," the boy's mother, Justyna Zubko-Valva, said outside the courtroom.

A report from the New York Post this week showed at least 17 calls were made the state abuse hotline about Thomas Valva and his brother in the months before the child died.

Suffolk County is conducting an internal review and has launched a task force to review Child Protective Services in the wake of the boy’s death.

The Department of Social Services is also implementing new procedures.