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Prosecutors Detail Physical, Mental Abuse In Freezing Death Of Long Island 8-Year-Old

Thomas Valva
Thomas Valva Photo Credit: Justyna Zubko-Valva/Twitter

During the indictment of an NYPD officer from Suffolk County and his fiancée for the alleged murder of his 8-year-old son, prosecutors outlined the mental and physical abuse suffered by the child.

Thomas Valva was found dead in the basement of his home at 11 Bittersweet Lane, in Center Moriches around 9:40 a.m., Friday, Jan. 17. His father, Michael Valva, 40, told police he had fallen in the driveway.

Valva, and his fiancée Angela Pollina, 42 both of Center Moriches, were indicted on Thursday, Feb. 7, for allegedly murdering the boy by forcing him to sleep in an unheated garage in below-freezing temperatures overnight, said Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy D. Sini.

“Unfortunately as we dig deeper into this case, we are learning more about how horrible these two defendants allegedly were to these children, and we are not going to stop until we get to the truth,” Sini said. “Not only the truth about what happened the day that Thomas died but also the truth about all the circumstances surrounding this situation from the very beginning."

During an investigation by Suffolk County Police detectives, a forensic analysis of surveillance cameras installed in various rooms allegedly shows Thomas and his brother sleeping in the garage without a mattress, pillows or sheets on the night of Jan. 15.

The investigation also revealed evidence of alleged physical abuse and neglect by Valva and Pollina between September 2017 and January 2020, including reports from the East Moriches School District alleging that on numerous occasions, Thomas and his brother arrived at school hungry, cold, soiled, or marked with scratches, bruises, and cuts, the DA's Office said.

During the hearing, Assistant District Attorney Kerriann Kelly said some of the abuse included throwing the child down a flight of stairs, not feeding him, beating him, and pulling out his hair.

Both were charged with second-degree murder, and four counts of endangering the welfare of a child.

They are being held without bail and are scheduled to appear in court on Monday, Feb. 24.

If convicted of the top count, they each face a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in prison.

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