EAST FARMINGDALE, Long Island (PIX11) – For the first time since a baby was buried in his family’s backyard, PIX11 is putting a face on the young child whose death remains a mystery nearly two years later.
State police made the horrifying discovery on Oct. 6, 2012, when Justin Kowalczik’s mother, Heather, lead them to a mound of dirt in the backyard of her rental home on Hallock Street in East Farmingdale.
There lay the body of the child, who was just 17 months old when he died. Kowalczik told investigators that her live-in boyfriend, Robert Rodriguez, had buried him.
But Kowalczik had told Suffolk County caseworkers that her youngest son was staying with relatives in Orange County. Pretty soon, authorities learned that wasn’t the case.
The young family had moved from Orange County to Suffolk County, Long Island, in the summer of 2010. New details suggest the child was dead within a week of his family moving to East Farmingdale.
Caseworkers visited the East Farmingdale house in October 2012 and asked Robert Rodriguez – the father of Kowalczik’s two older sons, but not Justin – where the toddler was. Rodriguez allegedly told them that Heather gave the baby up for adoption.
Only when the state police turned up did Heather Kowalczik reveal that the baby was buried in the backyard.
There have been no arrests in the case, not even for improperly burying the child. And there has been no fatality report on how Justin died.
Rodriguez retained a lawyer and never submitted to police questioning. Heather Kowalczik’s two other sons – who have special needs and would be 11 and 8 years old now – went to live in foster care.
If he had lived, Justin Kowalczik would be 5.
At last check, Kowalczik was staying with her father.