Officer Charged in Murder of Son, 8, Kept in Freezing Garage, Police Say

The voices were captured by household surveillance equipment.

“Get your hand off his mouth,” a woman says. “There’s people everywhere.”

The woman, Angela Pollina, was talking to her fiancé, Michael Valva, a New York City police officer. The mouth she was urging him to remove his hand from belonged to his son, Thomas, an 8-year-old with autism, officials said.

Not long after the recording was made, the authorities said, Thomas Valva was dead. He had been kept overnight in the couple’s unheated Long Island garage as the temperature outside plunged to 19 degrees, the police said.

His body temperature was just 76 degrees when he was brought to the hospital, the police said.

On Friday, Valva and Pollina were charged with second-degree murder in the boy’s death. Valva, who joined the New York Police Department in 2005 and was most recently assigned to the transit bureau, was suspended after his arrest, the New York department said.

Timothy Sini, the Suffolk County district attorney, described the killing as “one of the worst crimes I’ve ever seen.”

“The depravity of these defendants is shocking,” Sini said. “They caused the death of this little boy and then they watched him die.”

There had been warnings that Valva, 40, and Pollina, 42, 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, New York.

For at least two years, 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.

Sini said Friday that the county’s child welfare agency had also been contacted about the family. He declined to elaborate. The couple’s other children have been placed in a “safe environment” for the time being, Geraldine Hart, the Suffolk County police commissioner, said.

Valva and Pollina called the police to their home early on Jan. 17, officials said. Valva was in the basement when the police arrived, and he appeared to be performing CPR on the boy.

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Author: Joseph Oladokun

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